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IVith the cofnpliments of 

'^ ' - ■ Mrs, Morris K, Jesup 


Seest thou a man diligent in business, he shall stand 
before kings 








• 5 

Copyright, 1910, by 




It was Mrs. Jesup's hope that Dr. Charles Cuthbert 
Hall, Mr. Jesup's long-time friend and trusted counsellor, 
would tell the story which these pages record. I have 
before me a letter written by Dr. Hall in answer to the 
suggestion that he undertake the work, in which he ex- 
presses his conviction that the life of Mr. Jesup ought to 
be written, and with a few rapid but sure touches sketches 
in outline what he believes such a biography should be. 
Like all that Dr. Hall did, the subject is generously con- 
ceived. Of his own relation to Mr. Jesup he writes: 
" I loved him, admired him, and, I think, in a measure, 
understood him, for in many matters he opened his heart 
to me, and, if I were free, it would be my desire to give 
my whole mind and whatever powers I possess to the ful- 
filment of this work, with the utmost thoroughness and 
finish. He was, in my judgment, the ideal American lay- 
man, and an adequate biography of his splendidly com- 
plete life would accomplish in the world of affairs what 
the life of Phillips Brooks did in another sphere." 

Less than two months after these words were written. 
Dr. Hall had passed away, and the task which he had so 
ardently anticipated was left, with many others, to be 
carried on by different hands. 

The plan of the pages that follow is a more modest one 
than that outlined by Dr. Hall. What is offered is not 
a biography, but, as the title indicates, a character sketch. 



More than this the materials available do not allow. Mr. 
Jesup was not a man of words, but of deeds. He never 
wrote a letter when he could accomplish his end by an 
interview, and of the letters which he wrote and received, 
only a handful have been preserved. A brief autobio- 
graphical fragment in his own handwriting has preserved 
a few dates and facts concerning the early years. But for 
the most part the story of his life must be gleaned from 
the records of the institutions which he served, or woven 
together from the memories which survive in the hearts 
of his fellow-workers. If, in spite of these limitations, it 
has been possible to give any degree of unity to the picture, 
the explanation must be found in the forcefulness of a 
character, which stamped itself so deeply upon whatever 
it touched, that, even after the lapse of years, the impress 
preserves something of the virility and distinction of the 

To the many friends of Mr. Jesup who have assisted 
the writer, either by written contributions or personal con- 
versations, he desires to express his grateful appreciation. 
So far as possible, acknowledgment has been made of 
this assistance at the appropriate place in the text, but the 
most effective help received is of a kind which it is im- 
possible to estimate in words. Sidelights shed upon a 
character in the course of a conversation, incidental refer- 
ences revealing the total impression produced as a re- 
sult of a life-long association — this is evidence which is 
none the less valuable because it produces its effect by 
















Index 241 




A T almost any gathering of well-known New Yorkers 
held during the last dozen years, one might have seen 
a man well past middle life, whose erect form and com- 
manding presence attracted immediate attention. More 
than six feet tall, with broad forehead, firm mouth, promi- 
nent chin, and quick, penetrating eyes, which seemed to 
look, not so much at as through the object of their survey, 
he impressed the observer at once as one accustomed to 
deal with large affairs. His iron-gray whiskers, worn 
more full than is the custom to-day, recalled the portraits 
of an earlier generation, and there was about his whole 
person a certain air of distinction — an Old-World courtesy 
and grace that has become all too rare. But the courtesy 
served only to emphasize a forcefulness and decision of 
character which manifested itself in every motion and 
was no less evident in repose. It did not need the defer- 
ence with which he was treated by those whom he ad- 
dressed, nor the familiarity which he showed with the 
subjects under discussion in the different groups through 


which he moved, to make the bystander realize that this 
was a man who filled a large place in the life of the com- 

This first impression would have been confirmed by 
closer contact. The inquirer would have discovered that 
Mr. Jesup — for it is of course he of whom we are speak- 
ing — held a number of official positions unusual even in 
these days of wide interests and large responsibilities. 
He v/^s l^iesident of the Chamber of Commerce of the 
State of New York, a position to which he was elected 
in 1899 and which he held until a few months before his 
death. For more than a quarter of a century he was Pres- 
ident of the American Museum of Natural History, of 
which he had been one of the founders. He was one of 
the founders of the Young Men's Christian Association, 
its President from 1872 to 1875, ^^^ ^^ ^^^ ^^"^^ ^f his 
death Chairman of its Board of Trustees. For twenty- 
two years he was President of the New York City Mission 
and Tract Society, a position which he retained until 
within five years of his death, when he became Honorary 
President. For more than thirty-five years he was Presi- 
dent of the Five Points House of Industry. He was 
President of the American Sunday-school Union, of the 
Peary Arctic Club, of the Sailors' Snug Harbor, of the 
Audubon Society of the State of New York, of the New 
England Society, and of the Syrian Protestant College at 
Beirut. He was first Vice-President of the New York In- 
stitution for the Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb, and 
Vice-President of the Union Theological Seminary, of the 
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, 
and of the Pilgrims. He was one of the founders and 
for many years the Vice-President of the Society for the 


Suppression of Vice. He was Treasurer of the John F. 
Slater Fund for the Education of Freedmen, and a mem- 
ber both of the Peabody and of the General Education 
Boards. He was a member of the Rapid Transit Com- 
mission, which built the first subway in the City of New 
York. He was one of the founders, and for seven years 
a trustee, of the Presbyterian Hospital. He was a trus- 
tee of the Hospital Saturday and Sunday Association, of 
the Society for the Relief of Half Orphan and Destitute 
Children, and of the Brick Presbyterian Church, and a 
mem.ber of many other scientific, educational, and philan- 
thropic institutions, in which he held no official position, 
but in the work of which he was actively interested. 

The list is significant for the breadth as well as the 
number of the interests which it includes. Science, edu- 
cation, philanthropy, and religion are all represented. 
One who followed Mr. Jesup through the duties and en- 
gagements which filled his days and weeks would have 
found that he had touched most of the streams which 
fed the higher life of the community. To a remarkable 
degree it is true that the story of his later years is the 
history of philanthropy in New York. 

In all the organizations with which he was connected 
Mr. Jesup was an active participant. He never lent his 
name to any enterprise in which he did not believe, and 
when he gave himself he gave without reserve. It is not 
often permitted to a single man to exercise a decisive in- 
fluence in so many diflFerent spheres of activity, and when 
it is remembered that Mr. Jesup's training was that of 
the business man rather than of the student or the artist, 
this becomes the more striking. One who had excep- 
tional opportunities to judge his career has truly said of 


him that "it is doubtful if there ever Hved in America or 
any other country a man trained originally for business 
who developed more universal sympathies and interests."^ 

This sympathy for whatever enlarges and enriches 
human life gave distinction to Mr. Jesup's career. Into 
each of his multifarious activities there entered two ele- 
ments inseparable from the man, romance and common- 
sense. He was at once an idealist and a man of affairs. 
He had the vision of the future which kindles enthusiasm, 
combined with a shrewd practical knowledge of what can 
safely be attempted in the present. In this, as in so much 
else, he was a typical American. 

Mr. Jesup was typical, in the first place, in the large- 
ness of his conceptions. Something of the breadth of 
the land of his birth attached to all he did and planned. 
He was never content with what had already been achieved. 
He was always seeing something greater still to be done. 
It was this quality which attracted him to Peary and led 
him to support the explorer in his efforts to reach the 
North Pole. The enterprise appealed to Mr. Jesup be- 
cause it pushed discovery to its furthest limit and 
measured the sum of possible human achievement in 

This breadth of view is strikingly illustrated in con- 
nection with the chief interest of his life, his presidency 
of the Natural History Museum. He wished to make the 
Museum the best institution of its kind in the world in all 
the different respects by which success in such an en- 
terprise can be measured. He wished to make it first in 
its contribution to research. He beheved it ought to be a 
place to which scholars should look for the last word of 

* President H. F. Osborn, in Science, February 7, 1908. 


science in the departments with which it was concerned, 
and to this end he encouraged the expenditure of large 
sums for expeditions which were designed to add to the 
sum of human knowledge and for the publications which 
made these results accessible when they had been attained. 
He wished to make it first in its facilities for effective ex- 
hibition, and thought no cost of time or money too great 
which would secure the introduction of some new and 
attractive method of display. The wonderful reproduc- 
tions of bird and animal life which delight visitors to 
the Museum are illustrations in point. He wished finally 
to make it first as an agency of popular instruction, and 
nothing delighted him more than to see its rooms thronged 
with working men and children from the tenements study- 
ing the labels which set forth in simple language the 
nature of the objects which the cases contained. 

As President of the Chamber of Commerce Mr. Jesup 
was largely instrumental in securing the erection of the 
splendid and stately structure which is now its perma- 
nent home. Its beauty and dignity were to him suitable 
symbols of what he conceived to be the true function of 
the Chamber, as the spokesman and representative of 
the higher aspects of the business life of New York. It 
was the same with all that he undertook. Whether he 
dealt with the Southern question, as in the Slater Fund, 
the economic question, as in his work for forest preserva- 
tion, the religious question, as in the City Mission and 
Tract Society, or the educational question, as in Union 
Seminary and the Syrian Protestant College, everywhere 
we find him striking out new paths and seeking the solu- 
tion of new problems. He was always a leader, never 
simply a follower. 


Mr. Jesup was typical further in the fact that his suc- 
cess was so largely the result of his own individual effort. 
The premature death of his father deprived him of the 
counsel and support upon which most boys rely for their 
start in life, and early threw him on his own resources. 
When he was twelve years old he left school and went into 
business in order to help his mother, whose fortune had 
been swept away by the panic of 1837. He began his 
career as an office boy at a salary of two hundred dollars a 
year. Before he was twenty-one he was filling a position 
of responsibility, and at the age of twenty-four he was able 
to start a successful business for himself. With equal 
courage and foresight he entered upon a field compara- 
tively new at the time, the distribution of railroad sup- 
plies. His industry and thrift, combined with business 
talents of a rare order, soon gave him a commanding posi- 
tion in the business world. He was associated at different 
times with many important enterprises and had business 
connections with many well-known men. His credit was 
always of the highest and, though for nearly a quarter of 
a century before his death he had retired from active 
business, he left an ample fortune. 

He was typical, finally, in the use which he made of 
his wealth. Trained in a New England home in the Puri- 
tan tradition of responsibility, he began to give away as 
soon as he had anything to give. As his power enlarged, 
his benefactions increased correspondingly. He gave, not 
only his money, but his time, his strength, his sympathy — 
in a word, himself. With the advancing years the strain 
of these outside interests increased, until he saw that he 
could not do justice to them if he continued in active 
business. Accordingly, in 1884, while still in the prime 


of life and in the full flush of an exceptionally successful 
business career, he determined, contrary to the advice of 
many whose opinions he valued highly, to give up business 
and to devote himself entirely to philanthropy. From 
this time until his death, a period of nearly a quarter of a 
century, he threw himself into the task of working for 
others with as much ardor and continuity of effort as most 
men devote to earning a livelihood, and when, in 1908, 
the news flashed across the wire that his restless brain 
and generous hand were stilled, men freely said that New 
York had lost her foremost citizen. 

The story to which these pages are to be given is thus 
not merely of local or individual interest. It is the story 
of a representative life, a life whose activities affected the 
welfare of many men, and whose services have left their 
permanent record in institutions of far-reaching influence. 
Such men as Mr. Jesup, private citizens only in name, 
give tone to our public life and stamp their character 
upon our civilization. It seems fitting, therefore, that some 
public record should be made of what he was and did. 



lyrORRIS KETCHUM JESUP was born at Westport, 
■*■'*- Connecticut, on June 21, 1830. He was the son of 
Charles Jesup and Abigail Sherwood, the latter being the 
daughter of the Honorable Samuel Burr Sherwood, of 
Saugatuck, Connecticut. On both sides he was descended 
from old New England stock, both his father's and his 
mother's families having been identified with Connecticut 
for nearly two hundred years before his birth. 

On his father's side the connection goes back at least 
as far as 1649, ^^ which date his earhest American an- 
cestor, Edward Jessup,* was a citizen and land-owner in 
Stamford, Connecticut (then under the New Haven 

Among Mr. Jesup's ancestors on his father's side two 
figures stand out with special distinctness. The first is 
Edward, the founder of the line, a man of forceful char- 
acter and restless activity, meeting us first in Stamford 
under the New Haven colony, appearing later as one of 
the pioneer settlers of Long Island under the Dutch, 
and ending his life as proprietor of a large estate in West- 

* The first two American Jesups spelt their name with two s's, but with 
Edward, the third of the line, who died in 1750, the second s drops out. 



Chester County, New York, which he had purchased from 
the Indians, and which is now known as Hunt's Point. 
The other is Ebenezer, the fourth in the Hne of descent, 
Mr. Jesup's great-grandfather, a distinguished surgeon 
who did yeoman service both in church and state, had his 
house burned over him by the British troops under Gen- 
eral Tryon, and ended his days as a deacon of the Congre- 
gational Church and a Justice of the Peace, esteemed and 
trusted by all who knew him. But, indeed, all the Jesups 
were men of character and substance, and each illus- 
trates in some degree the qualities which reappear in their 
distinguished descendant. They were thrifty, knowing 
how to make one dollar yield another, independent, an- 
ticipating the lines of future development, and quick to 
take, advantage of each new opportunity as it came, con- 
scientious, doing thoroughly whatever they undertook. 
Above all, they were men of public spirit, recognizing their 
obligations to the community in which they lived, and 
interesting themselves actively in the work of school, state, 
and church. 

When we first hear of Edward, the first of the name, 
he was, as already mentioned, a citizen and land-owner 
in Stamford, then (1649) in the eighth year of its existence 
as an independent community. Three years later he re- 
moved to Middleborough, Long Island (afterward New- 
town), as one of a party of pioneers who had received 
permission from Peter Stuyvesant to establish an English 
settlement there. The price which he paid for his land, 
four pounds, the equivalent at the then market rate of 
eighty acres, shows that he must have been a man of 
substance, only one other settler paying as much. We 
hear of him also as owning land at other places, as at Fair- 


field, Connecticut, and Jamaica, Long Island. He quickly 
assumed a prominent place in the community, being nomi- 
nated as Magistrate in 1652 and serving in that capacity 
from 1659 to 1662. When, in 1653, the threatened out- 
break of hostilities between the Dutch and English alarmed 
the inhabitants of the new settlement, Edward Jessup was 
one of the delegation which was sent to Boston to present 
the cause of the settlers to the Commissioners of the New 
England Colonies. Two years later, when Stuyvesant, 
with six vessels and some six or seven hundred men, left 
home on an expedition against the Swedish settlements 
in Jersey, the savages, taking advantage of the absence of 
the garrison, landed at Manhattan Island on the 15th of 
September and began to plunder and threaten the town. 
Among those who were present on the night of this at- 
tack and who aided in the defence was Edward Jessup, 
and for his activity in this connection he incurred the 
enmity of the invaders, who threatened to put him to 
death and to take his scalp. 

Fortunately, the threat was never executed, for seven 
years later we find Edward Jessup active in the move- 
ment of the members of Middleborough to withdraw 
from the Dutch jurisdiction and to cast in their lot with 
Connecticut, which claimed authority over Long Island 
under a new charter obtained from the newly restored 
king, Charles the Second. We hear of him as leading an 
expedition to rescue John Christie, a commissioner whom 
the Dutch had arrested while trying to ascertain the sen- 
timents of the neighboring towns. In the following year 
he removed across the Sound and took up his residence 
in Westchester County at what is now known as West 
Farms, then under the jurisdiction of Connecticut. Here 


he spent the remainder of his days, serving as Magistrate 
in 1663 and 1664, and transmitting to his descendants 
at his death, in 1666, a large tract of land which, together 
with one John Richardson, he had purchased from the 
Indians, and which received from his son-in-law, John 
Hunt, who afterward inherited it, its present name of 
Hunt's Point. 

The story of Ebenezer Jesup, the fourth of the line, 
and the first of the name, carries us into the storm and 
stress of Revolutionary times. Unlike his cousins, the 
descendants of James Jesup, who were loyalists, and two 
of whom served as officers in the British army, Ebenezer 
cast in his lot with the Continental cause. He received 
his education at Yale College, from which he graduated 
in 1760. He afterward began the study of law, the first 
of this branch of Jesups to take up a profession, but, 
on account of failing health, turned his attention to the 
study of medicine and achieved distinguished success as 
a surgeon. In this capacity he served in the Continental 
army at Cherry Valley, New York. His home, like that 
of his father, was at Fairfield, Connecticut, and, in 
common with his neighbors of that locality, he suffered 
from the raids of the British troops, his house having 
been destroyed at the time when General Tryon burned 
Fairfield. He was no less active in religious matters, 
serving for twenty-four years as deacon of the Congre- 
gational church at Green's Farms. He was a man of 
liberal spirit, influential in the community and highly 
respected, and for many years served as Justice of the 

With the second Ebenezer, Mr. Jesup's grandfather, 
the connection of the Jesups with business began. At 


twenty-two we find him established for himself at Sauga- 
tuck, on the Connecticut side of the river, within three 
miles of his father's home. He was, no doubt, influenced 
in his choice of location by his marriage, for his wife's 
family, the Wrights, had interests there. He bought the 
grain which the farmers raised on the neighboring farms, 
and exported it to the ports of Boston and, later, of New 
York. His store soon became the principal one in Fair- 
field. With the growth of his business his interests ex- 
tended beyond his native town. He became a director 
and, later, the President of the Bridgeport National Bank. 
He was also interested in the Fairfield County Bank 
of Norwalk, and served on its Board of Directors for 
many years. Like most of his friends and neighbors 
he lost heavily in the panic of 1837, but his credit was so 
strong that he weathered it successfully and was able to 
lend assistance to other members of his family who had 
been less fortunate. 

Those who knew Mr. Jesup well spoke of him with 
great respect as a man of unusual ability, enterprise, and 
public spirit. He was a liberal supporter of the Congre- 
gational church, attending first the old church near his 
home at Green's Farms, and later, when a new building 
was erected in Fairfield in 1832, contributing generously 
to its support. He was actively interested in the militia, 
bearing the commission of Major, and was known by this 
title to the day of his death. Still more significant for our 
present purpose was his interest in education. He was a 
stanch supporter of the local schools and actively inter- 
ested himself in their improvement. 

The large storehouse, with its immense timbers and 
numerous stories, in which Major Jesup used to keep the 


grain which he had purchased, pending the arrangements 
for its transshipment, was long one of the landmarks of 
Saugatuck. With the one-storied house, in which its 
owner lived, it stood upon the ground now owned by his 
eldest living grandson James R. Jesup, but both have 
long been torn down and nothing but the old wharf 
remains to suggest the business which was done there less 
than three-quarters of a century ago. The more modern 
house, which was his home for the greater part of his life, 
descended to his son Francis, who occupied it for some 
twenty years. In 1885, however, it was purchased by 
his grandson, Morris K. Jesup, the subject of the present 
sketch, and presented to the Congregational church of 
the place for use as a parsonage, a function which it 
fulfils to-day.^ 

In 1790 Mr. Jesup married Sarah Wright, daughter 
of Obadiah Wright, of Saugatuck. They had nine chil- 
dren, seven sons and two daughters, of whom the third, 
Charles, born on March loth, 1796, was the father of 
Morris K. Jesup. 

As might have been expected from his father's keen in- 
terest in education, Charles Jesup received the best of 
schooling and was graduated from Yale in 1 8 14, being 
then only eighteen years of age. 

It was his original intention, like his grandfather, to 
study law, but he was compelled to relinquish this on 
account of ill health. Re-established in health by ex- 

^ It is said that Major Jesup was the first person to introduce a wheeled 
pleasure vehicle into Saugatuck. This was a square-top chaise, purchased for 
him in Boston for three hundred dollars by Captain Hezekiah Allen, who 
commanded one of his vessels, and who brought it home with him on one of his 
return voyages. So startling an innovation was this in the quiet life of Sauga- 
tuck that we ar§ told that Major Jesup kept it in his carriage-house for six 
months before he ventured to use it. 


tended travel, first in the South and later in Europe, he 
took up business both in New York and in Westport, in 
the latter of which he resided till his premature death 
in 1837. In September, 1821, he married Abigail Sher- 
wood, daughter of the Honorable Samuel Burr Sherwood, 
of Saugatuck. They had nine children, seven sons and 
two daughters, of whom Morris Ketchum Jesup was the 

The influence of Mr. Jesup's mother upon his charac- 
ter was so marked, and her own personality so remark- 
able, that it is proper to give some account of the stock 
from which she sprang and of the influences which 
moulded her development. 

Like her husband she was a member of an old Con- 
necticut family, the connection of the Sherwoods with the 
State antedating even that of the Jesups. Thomas Sher- 
wood, the founder of the American line, sailed from 
Ipswich, Suff^olk County, England, in the ship Francis 
in 1632, with Alice, his wife, and four children. He came 
to Fairfield as early as 1648, the year before we first hear 
of Edward Jessup at Stamford. 

Mrs. Jesup's father, Samuel Burr Sherwood, was the 
fifth in the line of descent. The son of a Congregational 
clergyman, he was born at Weston, November 26, 1767. 
Like his father, he went to Yale College, where he gradu- 
ated in 1786. Four years later he was admitted to the 
Bar and commenced the practice of his profession in West- 
port, which he continued until 1831. He became one 
of the leading members of the Fairfield County bar and 
had a large practice. He frequently represented the town 
in the Legislature, and for several years was one of the 
twelve councillors or upper house of the Legislature, which, 


before the adoption of the Constitution of 18 18, took the 
place of the Senate. He was a member of the Fifteenth 
Congress of the United States, and during the years from 
1 8 10 to 1815 it is probable that no one in Connecticut 
exercised greater political influence. He was a man of 
public spirit, interested and active in all that concerned 
the welfare of the community, whether town, county, 
or State. His neighbors remember him as a man of re- 
markable activity, always cheerful and full of good-humor, 
with a hearty greeting for his friends. The Reverend 
Mr. Jesup relates that he can still recall the dignified 
form of Mr. Sherwood, dressed in smallclothes, a fashion 
then nearly obsolete, as he sat in his pew in the new 
Saugatuck Congregational church not long before his death. 

Mr. Sherwood married Charity Hull, the daughter of 
Dr. Eliphalet Hull, of Fairfield, by whom he had three 
children, all girls, of whom the third, Abigail, married 
Mr. Charles Jesup, and became the mother of Morris K. 
Jesup, the subject of this sketch. 

Thus, both on his father's and on his mother's side, 
Mr. Jesup came of stock illustrating the best traditions 
of New England. Thrifty, God-fearing people, they 
did their part in the work of church and state. Ardent 
patriots, they were not afraid to make sacrifices for the 
cause of liberty. Lovers of education, they gave their 
children the best training that the opportunities of the 
time afforded. Sincere Christians, they practised what 
they preached. If there be such a thing as a natural 
aristocracy in a country where distinctions of birth are 
unknown, Mr. Jesup certainly could claim such descent. 

He was not unmindful of his inheritance. In his later 
life he became a member of the patriotic societies, such as 


the Pilgrims and the New England Society, which bring 
together for friendly intercourse the descendants of the 
early New England settlers, and, at the time of his death, 
he was Vice-President of the former and President of 
the latter. 

Nor was Mr. Jesup's interest in his ancestry only one 
of sentiment. Though he left his native town as a boy, 
he never lost touch with its affairs. His gift of his grand- 
father's house to the Congregational church for a par- 
sonage testifies to his interest in the religious life of 
Westport. And one of the last things which he did before 
his death was to present to the town a large and well- 
appointed library building as a memorial of his paternal 
and maternal ancestors, who for so many generations 
had been identified with the fortunes of the place. 

He never lived to see it himself. Delayed in its erec- 
tion by unforeseen contingencies, it was not ready for 
occupancy until October, 1907, at which time Mr. Jesup 
was too ill to attend the dedication. Before it was finally 
opened to the people of Westport the generous donor 
had himself joined the company of those honorable citi- 
zens whose virtues it had been his desire to perpetuate 
for all time in the tablets which adorned the library walls.* 

* The building was finally dedicated on April 8, 1908, in the presence of Mrs. 
Jesup, Mr. John E. Parsons, Mr. Jesup's boyhood companion and life-long 
friend, delivering the principal address. 



^T^HE home into which Mr. Jesup was born was a 
typical New England home, with its characteris- 
tic limitations and excellences. Judged by our present 
standards, its outlook was narrow. Many of the interests 
which we count important received scant recognition. 
There was little or no attempt to train the sense of 
beauty, either through appeal to eye or to ear. Educa- 
tion was thought of as discipline rather than as culture, 
and thoroughness was sought rather than breadth. Re- 
ligion was given the central place both in thought and 
practice, and this was conceived after the somewhat rigid 
fashion prevalent among Congregationalists of the stricter 
sort during the early part of the last century. 

There is a tradition in the Jesup family that when 
Grandfather Sherwood (Mrs. Charles Jesup's father) 
heard the children repeat the catechism on Sunday after- 
noons he placed them one after another upon the man- 
tel-piece with their backs against the wall, in order that 
their thoughts might not be tempted to wander. Some- 
thing of this spirit of rigidity lived on in the Jesup home. 
Sunday, or the Sabbath, as it was then universally called, 



was strictly observed. Saturday afternoon ended at six 
o'clock, when the children were brought in, bathed, 
and put to bed. Sunday morning and afternoon found 
them in their places in church, a practice which in Mr. 
Jesup's own case began early, as certain marks in the 
family pew attest. It is on record that the Jesup children 
made the observation familiar to so many other New 
England boys and girls, that an unusual proportion of 
Sunday afternoons were fair. 

In later years Mr. Jesup often commented on the 
strictness of his upbringing. **My parents,'' he said, 
"were strictly orthodox, and, like other good people of 
their communion, believed in severe restrictions in regard 
to amusements, especially on the score of their danger to 
the young. I grew up believing that the rigid Sunday 
laws which I had seen enforced at home ought to be 
binding on all, and that such amusements as theatre- 
going, card-playing, and dancing were wicked. On these 
points my views have been slowly and somewhat reluc- 
tantly modified by later experience." 

But there was something in this particular New Eng- 
land boy which could not be satisfied in a narrow at- 
mosphere. Like all "young people," he had a thirst for 
"something bright, gay, and limitless," and when "the 
fairy-land of art and natural history and later that of 
science and exploration " gradually opened itself to him, 
he took up their enjoyment with all the more zest because 
of his previous deprivation. "Every normal human 
being," he used to say, especially if he be a bread-winner, 
craves something that will take him out of the tedious 
grind of daily business routine. Kindergarten instructors 
tell us that for the proper development of a child's taste 


his knowledge of music and of art must begin with baby- 
hood. My own case, however, is the exception which 
proves the rule. As a boy, the opera, the theatre, and 
card-playing were forbidden me, but as I grew older I 
learned to enjoy them and they have been a distinct help 
to me in later years." 

But Mr. Jesup would have been the first to recognize 
the positive benefits which he received from his early 
training. His parents taught him habits of conscientious- 
ness and of obedience. He learned to put duty before 
pleasure. He learned, not by precept only but through 
example, that obligation is not limited to family or 
neighborhood. The missionary idea of Christianity was 
familiar to the boy from his earliest youth, and, while he 
came later to interpret this ideal more broadly, he never 
lost the sense of its authority. A certain innate purity of 
thought and feeling too may be traced to these early days. 
Tolerant as he became in his estimate of others' liberty, 
there was something of the Puritan still in his later judg- 
ments. Commenting on the modern theatre, he said 
once to a friend: "I am constantly shocked by the plots, 
incidents, and dialogue of the stage, and I think that it 
exercises to-day in a large number of its performances a 
most dulling and vicious influence upon the public. What 
I see often tempts me to revert to my early views. Com- 
pared with the license of to-day, the stage at the time of 
my youth was so comparatively clean that the bitter at- 
tack directed against it by Christian people would make 
laymen smile." 

The church to which the young Jesups were taken was 
organized in 1832 as an offshoot from the Congregational 
church at Green's Farms, which their parents had pre- 


viously attended. Mr. Charles Jesup, who had been one 
of the active workers in the old church, was prominent 
in the new organization, with which he identified him- 
self from the start. He was especially interested in the 
Sunday-school, of which he was one of the founders and 
in which he was an active worker.* He was an ardent 
supporter of the cause of Home Missions, and especially 
interested in the work of the American Tract Society, to 
which he not only contributed generously himself, but 
for which he was planning further benefactions when his 
plans were interrupted by the financial crisis of 1837. 

But it was the boy's mother that contributed most to 
the formation of his character. A figure of rare dignity 
and poise, she impressed those who met her with the 
force of her personality and the serenity of her faith. " She 
was one of the most charming women whom it has ever 
been my good fortune to meet," said one who in the course 
of a long life had come to know intimately many charm- 
ing women. *'I think that I never met any one who 
had so saintly an appearance." ^ Forceful and indepen- 
dent as she was womanly, she impressed her character 
upon her children, and to the day of his death, Mr. Jesup 
cherished her memory with a passionate devotion. 

Morris was the fifth of eight brothers and sisters, of 
whom only one besides himself, his brother Richard, lived 
to be more than thirty years old. Most of the others died 

^ Mr. Charles Jesup's devotion to the Sunday-school was shown in a very- 
practical way. During the week he devoted his leisure to procuring scholars, 
and, while still an attendant upon the church at Green's Farms, used to walk 
more than two miles every Sunday morning even in the coldest weather in order 
to build the fire and prepare for the instruction of the various classes. When 
later business called him to New York, as it often did, he never forgot to bring 
something home with him for the benefit of the school. 

2 Mr. John E. Parsons, in his address at the dedication of the Jesup 
Memorial Library at Westport. 


of consumption when they were twenty one or two. The 
shadow of these early deaths, four of them occurring 
within a period of two years, cast a gloom over Mr. 
Jesup's early manhood and made him ever afterward 
more than usually careful of his own health and of the 
health of others. But, at the period with which we 
are now concerned, all this lay in the future. The chil- 
dren grew up side by side, educating each other as chil- 
dren do. The hours when they were not at school were 
spent out-of-doors in the games that children love, and 
Mr. Jesup when over seventy could still point out with 
interest the old bridge on which when a boy of seven he 
used to lie and fish for frost-fish.^ When Christmas came, 
Grandfather Jesup's hospitable home expanded to its 
amplest dimensions to take in the company of children 
and grandchildren for whom it was the common meet- 
ing-place. Amid such simple, healthful surroundings, the 
boy's first years were spent. A singularly handsome child, 
he had every promise of receiving the best education and 
training which the time could afford. 

Unfortunately, this early promise was not destined to 
be fulfilled. When Morris was seven years old the panic 
of 1837 swept over the country, and in the general finan- 
cial ruin not only was his father's fortune lost, but also 
the comfortable portion which his mother had inherited 
from her father. Judge Sherwood. In the same year 
Mr. Charles Jesup, then only forty-two years old, died 
suddenly, leaving his wife with a family of eight children, 
six boys and two girls, to support as best she could. 

Mrs. Jesup met this crushing misfortune with high 
spirit. For a time she was willing to receive assistance 

* Cf. "Genealogy," p. 129. 


from her husband's father, but the sense of dependence 
was irksome to her, and she therefore made up her 
mind to move to New York and estabHsh an indepen- 
dent home for herself and for her children. When this 
removal took place Morris was eight years old. Judged 
by modern standards, New York was a comparatively 
small place. Instead of its present four million and a half 
people, it had then less than four hundred thousand. 
The railroad from Saugatuck had not yet been built, 
so Mrs. Jesup and her children made the journey by 
steamboat. They landed at the foot of Catharine Street, 
whence they went to the new home which had been 
secured for them at No. 39 Bond Street. Here they lived 
for ten or twelve years until the change in the neighbor- 
hood made necessary their removal to Eighth Street. 
Some years later Mr. Jesup, who, in the meantime, had 
prospered in business, was able to present his mother 
with a house of her own, a date to which he always 
looked back as a red-letter day. 

For the present, however, things looked dark enough. 
Morris, like his father and grandfather, had always 
looked forward to going to college, but under the cir- 
cumstances this seemed out of the question. His first 
duty was to his mother, and this made it necessary for 
him to secure remunerative work as soon as possible. 
The period of his schooling was therefore cut down to 
the lowest possible limit, and the record of the four years 
which could alone be spared is a broken one. 

In his autobiographical fragment, Mr. Jesup has this 
to say of his school life in New York. " I first attended 
school on the east side in Second Avenue, where I made 
the acquaintance of Mr. William E. Dodge, for over fifty 


years my warm and steadfast friend. After this I went 
to the West Side Collegiate School, conducted by Dr. 
Clark, where I remained a year or two, after which I at- 
tended the grammar school of New York University. 
Still later I went to Dr. Hubbard's School for Boys, then 
in Fourteenth Street, intending to prepare for college, but 
the condition of my family was such that the means were 
not forthcoming, and, after studying there for two years, I 
decided to relinquish my intention and go into business." 
This early disappointment had a far-reaching effect 
upon Mr. Jesup's later Hfe. What he could not enjoy 
himself he was the more anxious to make possible for 
others. Among his various philanthropic interests edu- 
cation held a central place, and the leading colleges of the 
country were repeatedly the recipients of his benefactions. 
To Yale he presented the Landberg collection of Arabic 
manuscripts. He was a contributor to the Teachers' 
Endowment Fund at Harvard; at Williams he erected 
Jesup Hall; to Princeton he was a repeated and gener- 
ous giver; to the Union Theological Seminary he pre- 
sented the recitation hall which bears his name. He 
was a frequent contributor to Hampton and Tuskegee, 
and a generous supporter of the policy of industrial educa- 
tion with which these two institutions are so closely iden- 
tified. He was the leading spirit in the educational work 
of the American Museum of Natural History, both on its 
popular and on its scientific side; and as President of 
the Syrian Protestant College in Beirut he was the means 
of planting and maintaining in this centre of Eastern civ- 
ilization an institution fashioned after the best models of 
the West and second to none of our American colleges 
in appointments and efficiency. 


The recognition of these services to education on the 
part of the colleges was generous. The academic standing 
which Mr. Jesup had been unable to acquire in the ordi- 
nary way was accorded to him causa honorts in his later 
years. Before his death he had received the master's 
degree from Yale, Columbia, and Williams, and Prince- 
ton had made him a Doctor of Laws. Thus, instead of 
being the graduate of a single college, he had the satis- 
faction of membership in at least four of the leading uni- 
versities of the country, and his services to the cause of 
education are recognized wherever scholars meet and 
scholarship is honored. 

One other effect of this early disappointment is worthy 
of more extended notice, and that is the interest which it 
led him to take in those boys and girls whom the mis- 
fortune of birth and early childhood had deprived of their 
chance of a fair start in life. The most striking instance of 
this interest is his connection with the Five Points House 
of Industry, of which he was a trustee for forty-one years, 
and for thirty-seven years the President. 

The history of the Five Points House of Industry goes 
back nearly sixty years. Those whose only acquaintance 
with it is in its present building would find it difficult to 
reconstruct in imagination the conditions under which its 
life began and which it has so largely contributed to 
abolish. At that time the Five Points was shunned by 
all decent people as the most dangerous place in New 
York City. Dives and low resorts abounded, and it was 
literally true that the visitor who entered its precincts 
after dark took his life in his hand. In this abandoned 
spot, the resort of thieves, gamblers, and dissolute men 
and women, a group of Christian people opened in a 


modest way a home for the destitute children who were 
drifting in large numbers in these troubled waters. The 
work of the institution was not essentially different from 
that carried on by many others whose object it is to save 
children from a life of vice and crime. Taking the boys 
and girls who were committed to it at an early age, it 
housed, fed, and clothed them, subjected them to a rigor- 
ous discipline in manners and morals, and ended by pro- 
viding them with good homes in the West.^ 

Mr. Jesup's own connection with the Five Points House 
of Industry dates from 1867. In 1871 he became its 
President, an office which he continued to hold until his 
death. From the first his interest in the work was active. 
He followed the details of its management with unre- 
mitting attention. Between him and the superintendent, 
Mr. William F. Barnard, a warm friendship grew up, and 
numerous letters written in Mr. Jesup's own hand show 
how constantly even during his absence he followed the 
welfare of the institution. As his interests multiplied and 

* The story of the Five Points House of Industry reads like a romance. It 
owes its origin to the Reverend L. M. Pease, a Methodist missionary who, in the 
year 1850, gave up his home at Lenox, Massachusetts, in order to devote himself 
to missionary labor. Learning of the conditions at the Five Points, he and his 
wife established their home in the region, in order to do what they could to 
better its conditions. They soon found that the conventional methods of preach- 
ing and tract -giving were not adequate to meet the need. If permanent help was 
to be given, economic conditions must be changed. Mr. Pease therefore started 
an industrial work, taking the women and girls whom he could reach into his 
own home and supplying them with sewing and other useful occupations. 
Finding that in the opinion of the denomination under which he was working 
this expansion of his labors beyond the field of religion in the conventional 
sense was looked upon askance, he severed his connection with the society and, 
in 1854, the Five Points House of Industry was incorporated under an inde- 
pendent Board of Trustees, the President of which was Mr. Archibald Russell. 
The plan at first contemplated work among adults as well as children, but it 
was soon discovered that the latter were so much more hopeful a field that it 
was decided to concentrate attention upon this branch of the work, and the 
present House of Industry is the outcome of this policy. 


his cares increased, he never allowed them to crowd out 
the House of Industry. When the summer heat was par- 
ticularly oppressive Mr. Barnard would find a check in his 
mail with such a line as this: "If there is anything you 
can do for the children in these hot days to give them 
an outing or fresh air where the means are not provided, 
consider this at your disposal." Or again, "I am glad the 
children had a good time and found so much to interest 
them. I enclose a check to cover the cost and am obliged 
to you for taking such an interest." Or, still again, 
when expressing his regret at his inability to keep a 
promise which he had made to speak to the children, he 
would enclose a verse of Scripture as a motto from which 
he hoped to talk to them some other time. 

One feature of the work of the Five Points which has 
grown familiar to many visitors is the Sunday afternoon 
service of song. At four o'clock the children gathered 
in their Sunday clothes, marched to the large audience 
hall, and spent an hour in singing songs and listening 
to a brief address, either from the superintendent or from 
some visitor. Mr. Jesup dearly loved this service. He 
often attended it. Not infrequently he addressed the 
children, but best of all he loved to sit alone or with some 
congenial friend whom he had persuaded to accompany 
him, in the upper gallery reserved for visitors, where he 
could look down upon the group of children gathered 
below and give himself up to the emotion which the sight 
never failed to awaken within him. Whether it was simply 
the sympathy which every one of advancing years must 
feel at the sight of the young who have all their possibili- 
ties and experiences before them, or whether the sight of 
these boys and girls who had their own way to make 


recalled the struggles of his own youth, it is certain that 
no work was dearer to Mr. Jesup than this and from 
none did he derive greater satisfaction/ 

But this digression has carried us far into the future. 
Between the President of the Five Points House of Indus- 
try and the boy who with heavy heart gave up the edu- 
cation he coveted in order to help his mother, many years 
of discipline intervened, and it is to these that we must 
now turn. 

* Mr. Jesup further showed his interest in the children of the poor by pre- 
senting to the Children's Aid Society the Forty-fourth Street Lodging House 
for Homeless Boys. 



TV yT ORRIS, as we have seen, was twelve years old 
'^ when he left school and began to work for his own 
living. The office which he entered was that of Rogers, 
Ketchum & Grosvenor, at No. 71 Wall Street. The firm 
v/ere manufacturers of locomotives and cotton-mill ma- 
chinery, and their factory was at Paterson, New Jersey. 
The boy owed his position to Mr. Morris Ketchum, his 
father's old friend, of whom we have already spoken, who 
was one of the partners, but his chief dealings were with 
Mr. Jasper Grosvenor, who was the active manager of 
the business, and to whom Morris was directly responsi- 
ble. At the time when his engagement with Rogers, 
Ketchum & Grosvenor began his mother was still living 
at No. 39 Bond Street, and Morris used to walk to and 
from home to the office each day, besides doing much 
walking on errands during the day. 

The boy made himself so useful to his employers that 
he was rapidly advanced, and soon held a position of large 
responsibility. In course of time he was given charge of 
all the purchasing for the business, had the oversight of 
the shipping of all the manufactures, and the paying of 
the men. One of his duties was to attend to the loading 



of the parts of locomotives made by the firm upon freight 
cars for shipment. "Often," he told a friend, "I have 
w^alked dov^n Broadway even in the depths of winter at 
four o'clock in the morning to the boat slips and docks, 
swinging a lantern in my hand, in order to superintend 
this work. My recollection of the darkness of those 
mornings and the special spots of blackness around 
those docks and piers has made the modern lighting by 
electricity an ever-new marvel to me/'^ 

Unfortunately for Mr. Jesup, this increase in respon- 
sibility was accompanied by no corresponding increase of 
salary. When he had been with Rogers, Ketchum & 
Grosvenor for twelve years and had risen from office boy 
to the highest position in the business, his salary was still 
only six hundred dollars. He was not unnaturally dis- 
satisfied. At the same time, he had such confidence in 
Mr. Grosvenor that he thought the latter would have 
given him more if he had supposed him worth it. Ac- 
cordingly, without saying anything to his employer, Mr. 
Jesup made up his mind that he would look for another 
position, or start in business for himself, and made his 
plans accordingly. He had no capital, as it was his habit 
to give all his surplus earnings to his mother. Soon, 
however, an opportunity offered. Through his brother 
Frederick, who was at this time employed as cashier in 
the banking office of Ketchum, Rogers & Bement, he 
had made the acquaintance of Mr. Charles Clark, the 
firm's book-keeper. Mr. Clark and Mr. Jesup made an 
arrangement to go into partnership under the firm name 
of Clark & Jesup, the former to furnish the capital and 

^ Mrs. Francis P. Kinnicutt is my authority for the above incident, as for 
many other interesting side-lights upon Mr. Jesup's life. 


to attend to all the office affairs, and the latter to be re- 
sponsible for the out-door business. 

This decision was made in the year 1852. When Mr. 
Jesup's plans were fully made, he informed Mr. Grosvenor. 
The latter, who had been entirely unaware of the dissatis- 
faction of his chief clerk, for whom he had the highest re- 
gard, felt very badly at the thought of his leaving. When 
he learned the reason, he acknowledged that he had been 
at fault and urged Mr. Jesup to stay on with him on his 
own terms, but the decision had been made, and it was 
too late to draw back. 

Instead of being offended by this refusal, Mr. Grosve- 
nor's interest in his former employee was rather increased, 
and he offered to help him in any way he could in his 
new enterprise. He gave him a letter in the name of the 
firm, commending his abiHty in the highest terms. He 
took him to the Union Bank in Wall Street and introduced 
him to the President as his boy, asking that a credit of 
two thousand dollars be opened for him in the bank on 
his guarantee. Mr. Jesup did open his first account with 
this bank, but he never had occasion to use the credit. 
When later the firm of Rogers, Ketchum & Grosvenor 
became the Rogers Locomotive Works, Mr. Jesup was 
offered the vice-presidency of the company and accepted 
the position, which he held in addition to his own busi- 
ness. Until his death in 1853 Mr. Grosvenor remained one 
of Mr. Jesup's best friends. He trusted him in many 
things, and when he died made him one of the executors 
of his will. Mr. Jesup used often to recall some counsel 
given him at their last interview. "Morris," said Mr. 
Grosvenor, "would you mind if I gave you a httle advice .f"* 
Mr. Jesup replied, "Nothing would please me more.'* 


Mr. Grosvenor then said, "Never indorse a note except for 
your business, and begin early to give away your money/' 

The independence which Mr. Jesup showed in severing 
his relations with Mr. Grosvenor was frequently illus- 
trated in his later life. In all the questions which came 
before him for decision he was accustomed to make up 
his own mind, and when his decision was once formed 
he acted without delay. A trifling incident which occurred 
early in his business life is worth mentioning for the side- 
light which it sheds upon his character. Like most men, 
he had been in the habit of carrying a small note-book in 
which he put down his engagements, notices, and other 
memoranda to which he had occasion to refer from time 
to time. One day he realized that he was becoming 
dependent upon this book and that, as a result, his mem- 
ory was growing weaker. He determined that if he was 
not to become a slave to the habit it was time for this 
dependence to cease. It so happened that at the time 
he was crossing the ferry to Jersey City. No sooner was 
his decision made than he took the book from his pocket, 
threw it into the river, and from that time till the day of 
his death, never carried in his pocket a memorandum- 
book for constant record, though, of course, when occa- 
sion required, he made notes of the necessary data and 
figures in which accuracy was essential. 

The office of Clark & Jesup was at No. 139 Pearl 
Street. The firm dealt in railroad supplies. They did a 
commission business, purchasing from the manufacturers 
and selling to the roads, a work for which Mr. Jesup's ex- 
perience with Rogers, Ketchum & Grosvenor peculiarly 
fitted him. The business was a new one, in which the 
firm was largely a pioneer. The railroads of the country 


were still comparatively young, and the high specialization 
which now characterizes all branches of the railroad in- 
dustry had not yet been developed. The total mileage 
of the country was then less than thirteen thousand miles, 
as compared with over two hundred and thirty thousand 
miles to-day, and the opportunity opened to a young man 
of independence and enterprise was correspondingly great. 
In the autobiographical fragment, to which reference 
has been made, Mr. Jesup has left on record the names 
of some of the men who helped him in his early business 
career. Prominent among these was Mr. Morris Ketchum, 
his father's friend, for whom he was named, then a mem- 
ber of the banking house of Rogers, Ketchum & Be- 
ment. Others were Jonathan Sturges, of the firm of 
Arnold, Sturges & Company; Joseph Sheffield, the well- 
known founder of the Sheffield Scientific School, who, with 
Mr. Henry Farnam, built the Rock Island Railroad; 
George Griswold, of the Illinois Central, whose help in 
connection with the business of that road proved very 
useful to Mr. Jesup. Still others with whom he had in- 
timate associations were Mr. R. B. Mason, of Chicago, 
of the firm of Ferris, Bishop & Company,^ the Schuylers, 
Robert and George, the former the Treasurer and Trans- 
fer Agent of what has subsequently become the New 
York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad; and Henry 
Dwight, who was actively interested in the Chicago & 
Alton, one of the first roads for which Mr. Jesup's firm 
did business, and for which they acted as fiscal and trans- 
fer agents. All these men were engaged in large railroad 
interests, and, in Mr. Jesup's own suggestive words, "I 

* Ferris, Bishop & Company took the contract for building part of the Illinois 
Central Railroad, as well as the Dubuque & Pacific Railroad, which after- 
ward became the Dubuque & Sioux City Railroad. 


tried hard to make myself useful to them, and I think I 

While still a clerk in the employ of Rogers, Ketchum 
& Grosvenor, Mr. Jesup had formed the acquaintance 
of a young Scotchman, Mr. John S. Kennedy, who had 
recently come to this country as the representative of 
the English firm of William Bird & Company. This 
firm were agents for a certain kind of locomotive tubing 
much in use in the railroads of this country, upon which 
the patent was held in England. Rogers, Ketchum & 
Grosvenor were large purchasers of this material, and it 
was in this connection that Mr. Jesup and Mr. Kennedy 
met. The acquaintance, formed in Wall Street, was re- 
newed in the rooms of the newly organized Young Men's 
Christian Association, in the formation of which they had 
both been active. Acquaintance soon ripened into friend- 
ship, and when, a few years later, Mr. Jesup felt the need 
of a change in his business relations, his thoughts turned 
to Mr. Kennedy. 

The latter in the meantime had returned to Scotland, 
to take up the Glasgow agency of William Bird & Com- 
pany. Here he was visited a year later by Mr. Jesup, 
who had sailed for England at short notice in order to 
facilitate the shipment of a large order of iron rails, the 
delay of which jeopardized a contract in which one of 
his friends was interested.* His business successfully 

^ The friend in question was Henry Dwight, at that time engaged with 
Governor Mattison, of Illinois, in building the Chicago & Mississippi Railroad. 
Mr. Jesup later used to recall the excitement which was produced when one 
Friday morning Mr. Dwight came into the office at No. 139 Pearl Street 
and said that he wished him without delay to go to Newport and to Cardifif, 
Wales, in order to expedite the shipping of some ten thousand tons of iron 
rails for which he had contracted with the firm of Crashay, then the 
largest rail-makers in the world. In those days there was no steamer sailing 
from New York; the only regular service was by the Cunard Line from Boston, 


accomplished, Mr. Jesup went to Glasgow to resume his 
acquaintance with Mr. Kennedy, and while there pro- 
posed to him that they should join their business fortunes. 
Mr. Kennedy's residence in this country had convinced 
him that America offered a better opening for a young 
man than Great Britain, and he was therefore ready to 
accept Mr. Jesup's proposition that they should form a 
partnership. Mr. Jesup returned to New York, where 
he was followed in the spring of 1857 by Mr. Kennedy,* 
and in due course a new firm was formed under the name 
of M. K. Jesup & Company, which had its office at No. 
44 Exchange Place. 

Like Clark & Jesup the new firm dealt in railroad 
supplies and acted as middlemen between the manufact- 
urers and the railroads. Insensibly, however, like so 
many other American firms which began as merchants, 
they drifted into a banking business. Their acquaintance 
with railroad men on both sides of the Atlantic gave them 
an unusual insight into railroad problems, and they early 
began to deal in the securities of the railroads, as well 
as in the raw materials which went to build up their 

sailing once a fortnight and stopping over at Halifax. The next steamer sailed 
on the following Wednesday, or, in other words, five days from the time when 
Mr. Dwight approached Mr. Jesup with his request. Judged by the prevail- 
ing standards, the time for decision and for preparation was so short that Mr. 
Jesup was tempted to say no — all the more, because he had strong personal 
reasons for wishing to stay at home. His mother, however, strongly advised 
him to go, and, in deference to her judgment, he made the trip, taking his 
brother Arthur with him. The steamer was the Europa, a very small ship. 
She was two weeks on the passage. Mr. Jesup was "dreadfully sea-sick," but 
he went directly to his work and succeeded in getting off the rails, for which 
service he received from Mr. Dwight high praise and a liberal check. 

* Some idea of the primitive condition of ocean travel at the time may be 
gained from the fact that on his first passage Mr. Kennedy's ship encountered 
such severe storms that she was obliged to turn back, and his arrival in the 
city was accordingly delayed for several weeks. 


physical equipment. Mr. Kennedy brought to the firm 
technical knowledge, sound judgment, and independence 
of character. His familiarity with conditions on the 
other side usefully supplemented Mr. Jesup's experience 
gained in New York, and the combination which re- 
sulted was one of unusual strength. 

It had been originally planned that Mr. Kennedy 
should reside in Glasgow and look after the interests of 
the firm on the English side of the Atlantic, but this ar- 
rangement was never carried out. He preferred life in 
this country, believing, as has already been said, that it 
oflFered better opportunities than the old world, a judg- 
ment which his later experience amply justified. 

The partnership between Mr. Kennedy and Mr. Jesup 
continued for ten years. During the winter of 1861-62 
Mr. Kennedy was in Chicago, where he organized a 
branch house under the firm name of Jesup, Kennedy 
& Adams, the other partner being Mr. John Macgre- 
gor Adams, who had previously acted as agent for the 
firm. The headship of this new firm was soon after 
assumed by Mr. John Crerar, who about this time be- 
came a partner of M. K. Jesup & Company. Mr. Ken- 
nedy thereupon returned to New York, where he 
remained until 1867 when his partnership with Mr. Jesup 
was dissolved. Mr. Crerar remained a partner of both 
firms until his death. ^ Mr. Kennedy, after a year of rest 

^ Mr. Crerar was an interesting character. Like Mr. Kennedy, a Scotch- 
man, he began business as a clerk in the employ of Lyman & FuUerton, iron 
merchants, but soon found his way to this country where he spent most of his 
life. A man of literary tastes, he was the President of the Mercantile Library 
Association, and a friend of Thackeray whom he entertained during his Ameri- 
can trip. His connection with the firm of M. K. Jesup & Company began in 
1863-64. In Chicago, where he spent the latter part of his life, he became a 
well-known figure. At his death he left a million dollars to his adopted city 
to be used in the establishment of a free library. 


and travel, entered business for himself under the firm 
name of John S. Kennedy & Company. 

After the dissolution of his partnership with Mr. Ken- 
nedy, Mr. Jesup continued in active business for seventeen 
years. In 1870 Mr. John Paton joined the firm, and the 
firm name w^as changed to M. K. Jesup, Paton & Com- 
pany. Later Mr. Jesup's nephev^, Mr. C. C. Cuyler, was 
taken into the firm. On Mr. Jesup's retirement in 1884 
the firm name was changed to John Paton & Company, 
and still later, after Mr. Paton's death, to Cuyler, Morgan 
& Company. In both these firms Mr. Jesup remained a 
special partner. 

The story of Mr. Jesup's businss life is that of many 
another American who, starting from small beginnings, 
by his industry, thrift, and foresight has gradually ac- 
quired large means and corresponding influence. Here 
we are interested primarily in the eflFects of his business 
training upon his later life and the elements which it con- 
tributed to his usefulness as citizen and philanthropist. 

One most important effect was to enlarge his horizon. 
Men who have to do with the transportation problem 
are obliged by the very necessities of their business to 
keep in touch with the general conditions which affect 
commerce the world over. Mr. Jesup was no exception. 
His railroad interests brought him into touch with all 
parts of the country^ and familiarized him with condi- 

^ Mr. Jesup's nephew, Mr. Thomas de Witt Cuyler, has kindly furnished me 
with the following statement concerning the railroads with which from time 
to time Mr, Jesup had business connections: 

"The first railroad with which Mr. Jesup was connected was the Chicago 
& Alton. He was identified with this almost from its inception in the fifties 
until the final sale of the property to other interests some seven or eight years 
ago. He was also early identified with the Dubuque & Sioux City Railroad 
and with the Cedar Falls & Minnesota Railroad. All these roads might be 
called pioneer enterprises in the West, and Mr. Jesup not only gave of his time 


tions of which he might otherwise have remained in 
ignorance. Thus, as we shall see, his interest in Southern 
education had its origin in a business trip made to Rich- 
mond in the days before the war when, for the first time, 
he was brought face to face with the actual conditions of 
life under a system of slavery. 

A second effect was to increase his confidence in his 
own powers. Naturally of a sanguine disposition, Mr. 
Jesup's business experience taught him that with patience 
and perseverance it is often possible to bring success out 
of conditions which seem hopeless. In the course of his 

and substance to their construction, but also had close business relations with 
them through his firm for many years. 

"After these railroads came his interests in the roads of the South. Imme- 
diately after the war it became necessary to rehabilitate the Southern roads, 
and Mr. Jesup became a prominent member of what was known as the South- 
ern Security Company, the object of which was the reconstruction and rehabili- 
tation of the Southern roads, notably the Southern Railway, the Atlantic Coast 
Line, the Northeastern Railroad of South Carolina, and the Savannah, Florida 
& Western. After the dissolution of the Southern Security Company Mr. 
Jesup retained his interest largely in these roads, especially in the combination 
made by the amalgamation of many of them, known as the Plant System. It 
was only a few years ago that he parted with his interest in this system, upon 
the death of Mr. Plant. 

"Mr. Jesup also had close relations with the Toledo, Peoria & Western 
Railroad Company and the Havana & Rantoul & Eastern Railroad, both Illi- 
nois corporations which required patience and money to work out. In both 
instances he was successful, and the properties were sold, one to the Pennsyl- 
vania Railroad and the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy, and the other to the 
Illinois Central. 

"Mr. Jesup was also interested, with Mr. Joseph W. Drexel, in the Natchez, 
Jackson & Columbus Railroad of Mississippi. This was a small narrow-gauge 
road to which Mr. Drexel had made a large loan. Mr. Jesup, who was at that 
time managing Mr. Drexel's affairs, took the property in hand, widened the 
gauge, and sold the property to the Illinois Central without loss to Mr. Drexel. 
His ability was also displayed in his handling of the Keokuk & Western and of 
the Cleveland & Mariette Railroad of Ohio. The latter was an old and dis- 
creditable road which had passed through several foreclosures and out of which 
no one seemed able to produce anything. The firm of Jesup, Paton & Com- 
pany being largely interested in this security, Mr. Jesup took hold of it, nursed 
the property for several years, recreated it, and finally sold it to the Pennsyl- 
vania Company, a subsidiary company of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, 
at a price which brought a handsome return to the shareholders." 


business he had to do not only with sound railroad proper- 
ties, but also with properties of less established character 
where there was a considerable risk to be run, and where 
success depended largely upon the ability with which the 
enterprise was managed. In every case he was successful 
in that which he undertook, and this success not unnatu- 
rally gave him confidence in deahng with the philan- 
thropic and educational problems to which his later years 
were given. 

Mr. Jesup's confidence and resourcefulness were well 
illustrated in connection with his reorganization of the 
Keokuk & Western Railroad. This road, which was 
then known as the Missouri, Iowa & Nebraska Railroad, 
"was physically almost unsafe to run upon. Its earnings 
amounted to but little and there was almost no return 
on the capital invested." It was leased to the Wabash 
Railroad Company, which guaranteed the bonds. In 
1885 the Wabash defaulted on its interest. Mr. Jesup 
was not only himself the holder of many of the bonds, 
but he had many friends who were interested. He there- 
upon determined to see what could be done to save the 
property. As a first step he moved to have a receiver 
appointed. " Receiver's certificates were issued with which 
to pay for relaying the road with steel rails and furnish- 
ing the cars, locomotives, etc., and putting the road in 
first-class condition." In 1886 a new company was 
formed, called the Keokuk & Western Railroad Company, 
of which Mr. A. C. Goodrich was made manager. The 
bondholders' committee, "with which Mr. Jesup was con- 
nected, obtained the deposit of all the bonds but one of 
the old Missouri, Iowa & Nebraska Railroad, all of 
which bonds were afterward exchanged for stock to the 


full amount of the mortgage." In order to secure an 
outlet for the road, which at that time seemed likely to 
be shut in by the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy, Mr. 
Jesup secured control of a narrow-gauge road running 
from Des Moines, one hundred and ten miles across the 
Keokuk & Western at Van Wert. The funds for the pur- 
chase of this road Mr. Jesup provided himself, as well as 
for widening the gauge and furnishing the road with a 
complete modern equipment. As a result, the Keokuk 
& Western became a dividend-payer, yielding four per 
cent, upon its stock. The wisdom of Mr. Jesup's man- 
agement was soon seen from the fact that other roads 
offered to purchase from him a controlling interest in 
the stock of the Keokuk & Western, but this offer he 
refused, demanding that all the stockholders should be 
given the same price. Finally, in 1899, the Chicago, 
Burlington & Quincy purchased the road at a price 
satisfactory to the owners, and it now forms part of the 
Chicago, Burlington & Quincy system.^ 

In the third place, Mr. Jesup's business experience 
taught him the great importance of attention to detail. 
He began at the bottom of the ladder and was content to 
rise one step at a time, but his face was always turned 
upward, and as soon as his feet were firmly planted on 
one round he began to study the footing above. He never 
lost the habit. He wished to understand whatever he 
undertook, and thought no detail too trifling to be beneath 
his notice. 

One of his friends is my authority for the following 
incident. One evening as she was on her way to dine 
with Mr. and Mrs. Jesup, her son, who on the following 

* My authority for the above statement is Mr. T. de Witt Cuyler. 


day was to begin the momentous enterprise of earning 
his own living, said to her: "Please tell Mr. Jesup that 
I am going down to Wall Street to-morrow to begin my 
business career, and as I am so ignorant that I do not 
even know where Wall Street is, I should greatly value 
his advice." Mr. Jesup's answer was as follows: "Tell 
the boy first to learn how to do his own job, and then to 
begin directly to learn how to do the work of the man 
ahead of him. Tell him to follow that course in every 
direction in the office and not to take his summer holiday 
at such a season that he will lose the opportunity of study- 
ing during the absence of his fellow-members on the office 
staff. In this way he will not only learn many things 
which he will need to know later, but he will make him- 
self doubly useful to his employers. Tell him, in the 
second place, that as soon as he makes any money in life 
he should begin directly to learn how to give away some 
of it. This giving away should be made an intelligent 
habit and not be left to chance impulse after a man finds 
himself possessed of more than he needs." The advice 
was eminently characteristic of the giver. He had learned 
both how to make money and how to spend it, and he 
regarded the second as an art worthy of as serious study 
as the first. 

Finally, Mr. Jesup's business experience taught him 
the intimate relation between commerce and other sides 
of human activity. He believed that charity, to be sound, 
must rest on a firm economic foundation and aim to elim- 
inate the causes of poverty as well as to correct its conse- 
quences. Hence his interest in industrial education, in the 
cause of which he was one of the pioneers. Hence his 
earnest advocacy of forest preservation and his efforts 


to secure the application of sound business principles in 
the administration of public affairs. Hence, finally, his 
interest in those studies which increase our knowledge of 
the conditions of productive industry and teach us the 
most effective methods of warfare against the enemies 
that imperil its success. As the charitable and educa- 
tional interests which later engrossed his time and thought 
had their beginning while he was still in active business, 
so his retirement left him more than ever conscious of his 
indebtedness to the field of commerce and industry, in 
which his special training had been won. From first to 
last he saw life as a unity, and in whatever he undertook, 
never suffered his devotion to detail to blind him to the 
larger interests and relations through which alone the 
highest success is possible. 

Thus when, in 1884, Mr. Jesup retired from business, 
it was with a training which fitted him in exceptional de- 
gree for the work which he was about to undertake. What 
that work was and how he set about it we have now to 



IVyTR. JESUP has given the reasons which led him 
•*■■■■ to resign from active business in the following 
words: "From the beginning of my business life I made 
up my mind to engage in such religious and philanthropic 
matters as would excite my sympathy, so that my business 
should not entirely engross my mind and make me sim- 
ply a business machine, although naturally my ambition, 
pride, and interest were alike enlisted in making my 
business a success. I can say conscientiously that during 
the long period of my business life I have carried out this 
resolution, as the many enterprises, religious, scientific, 
philanthropic, and artistic, with which I have been con- 
nected for forty years past will attest. It was the spirit 
of this resolution that, in 1884, determined my decision 
to go out of business. I found that both business and 
charitable work were becoming so absorbing that one or 
the other must suffer if I continued to do both. So, 
after careful consideration of the whole matter, I retired 
from business and have devoted my spare time to work- 
ing for others and for the public interest. Although at 
the time some of those I loved best and respected most 



advised me against taking the step, I can truthfully say 
that I have never regretted the decision." 

It was, of course, impossible for a man with so many 
business responsibilities to make the transition instan- 
taneously. During the period when Mr. Jesup was en- 
gaged in active business his charitable interests had long 
divided his time with his business affairs, and in the new 
relation upon which he now entered he still found busi- 
ness claiming no small part of his attention. As has al- 
ready been said, he remained a special partner in the 
firm of John Paton & Company, as well as later of Cuy- 
ler, Morgan & Company, its successor, and his partners 
were always free to come to him for advice in the enter- 
prises in which they were engaged. The management 
of his property, already large, brought with it cares of 
its own, and his action in the case of the Keokuk & West- 
ern Railroad has shown how actively he continued to 
interest himself in the welfare of the properties of whose 
securities he was a large holder. Many of his charitable 
interests, moreover, involved large financial responsibility. 
When he accepted the treasurership of the Slater Fund, 
he assumed the management of a principal fund of a 
million dollars. The presidency of the Chamber of Com- 
merce made him ex officio 3. member of the Rapid Transit 
Commission, and led to his accepting the presidency of 
the Sailors' Snug Harbor. Thus the new life upon which 
Mr. Jesup entered, while involving a change of activity, 
proved no less arduous than that upon which he had 
turned his back. 

For convenience, we may divide the activities of Mr. 
Jesup's later life into four groups: First, religious; sec- 
ond, philanthropic; third, educational; fourth, civic. 


Some of them, such as his work for the New York City 
Mission and the Syrian Protestant College, were the 
direct result of his membership in the Christian Church. 
Others, such as his campaign for clean streets and his 
service in the cause of Southern education, made their 
appeal on the ground of common humanity. Into others, 
such as the presidency of the Museum of Natural History 
and his support of Peary, he was led through his de- 
votion to the cause of education and science. While still 
others, such as his duties as President of the Chamber 
of Commerce, came to him in his public capacity as a 
representative citizen. 

The line between these different groups is of course a 
fleeting one, and it is not always easy to tell where one 
interest leaves off^ and another begins. Nevertheless, for 
our present purpose it will prove a convenient principle 
of division. Before, however, we consider Mr. Jesup's 
work along these four lines it will be worth our while to 
retrace our steps for a few moments and to consider the 
earlier activities through which he received his first train- 
ing in charitable and philanthropic work. 

In order to do this we must go back to the very begin- 
ning of Mr. Jesup's business career, while he was still 
a clerk in the office of Rogers, Ketchum & Grosvenor. 
It was in the year 1852, two years before he set up 
in business for himself, and while he was still but 
twenty-two years old, that a group of young men met in 
New York City to organize the Young Men's Christian 
Association of that city. Of this group Mr. Jesup was 
one. His name appears in the first annual report among 
the Hst of members of the Association, and it is worthy of 
note, as showing that even before Mr. Grosvenor gave 


him the advice he so highly valued, he had begun to act 
upon its principles, that he was one of seventeen who, in 
addition to the membership fees, made a special contri- 
bution to current expenses in the first year. 

The Young Men's Christian Association was the school 
in which many of those who afterward took a prominent 
part in the civic and charitable life of New York received 
their training in philanthropic activity. The list of men 
who took part in its foundation and its early manage- 
ment is a remarkable one. It included such names as 
William E. Dodge, Jr., Cephas Brainerd, J. Pierpont 
Morgan, John Crosby Brown, Charles Lanier, Elbert B. 
Monroe, and John S. Kennedy. Nor must we forget 
the man who, more than any other, determined the policy 
of the new Association from the first, its efficient and de- 
voted Secretary, Mr. Robert R. McBurney. What the 
Association accomplished under his leadership is so famil- 
iar that it is not necessary to retell it here. Commanding 
the services of men of no common ability, who gave their 
time and energy freely to its service, it soon assumed the 
leadership of the Association work of the country and ex- 
tended its influence to England and the Continent as well. 

In all that was done Mr. Jesup took an active part. 
For fifty-two years he was a member and for more than 
forty an officer of the Association. He became a member 
of the Board of Directors in 1866. He was Vice-Presi- 
dent from 1868 to 1872, and President from 1872 to 1875. 
He continued as advisbry director and trustee until 
the close of his life, and for the last five years was Chair- 
man of the Board of Trustees. The aggregate of his 
gifts to the Association was over one hundred and thirty 
thousand dollars, and he influenced the giving of a much 


larger amount by others. To the last, his interest in its 
work continued active, and during his last sickness he 
had in his possession for careful examination the plans 
for its next important building. 

The years during which Mr. Jesup was Vice-Presi- 
dent of the Young Men's Christian Association witnessed 
the erection at a cost of half a million dollars of the first 
building specially designed to accommodate the Asso- 
ciation's work for young men in the broader aspects in 
which it was beginning to conceive it, a work which 
made provision for physical and intellectual as well as 
for moral and religious needs. In this building there 
was seen for the first time in the history of our American 
Christianity on so large a scale that happy marriage of 
philanthropy and religion, of Christian consecration and 
social service, with which we have since become familiar. 
Here, as so often in Mr. Jesup' s life, the work on which 
he was engaged was pioneer work, the full significance 
of which it remained for the future to reveal. 

He was fortunate in living to see the example set by 
the New York Association widely followed both in this 
country and across the sea. When, in 1895, the jubilee 
of the parent society was held in London it was Mr. 
Jesup's privilege to head the American delegation and, 
in the presence of two thousand delegates assembled from 
all parts of the world, to extend to the venerable founder, 
Sir George Williams, "the greeting and congratulations 
of his American children, grown to mature manhood, 
yet manifesting the vigor of a perpetual youth." 

Through his connection with the Young Men's Chris- 
tian Association Mr. Jesup was led to engage in a wide 
range of activities several of which are sufficiently im- 


portant to deserve special mention. First among these 
must be placed the work of the Christian Commission, 
of which he became the treasurer on its organization in 
1 86 1, a position which he continued to hold until the 
dissolution of the Commission in 1880. Another cause in 
which his services were enlisted was the work among rail- 
road men, which was inaugurated at Cleveland in 1872. 
The supervision and extension of it was undertaken by 
the International Committee in 1877. Mr. Jesup, as a 
member of this committee, took a leading part both in 
the supervision and in the support of this department of 
its work for more than thirty years. Through his efforts 
on behalf of the dying San Francisco Association he was 
brought into intimate relations with Mr. Moody, whom 
he induced to undertake, in the winter of 1880-81, an 
evangelistic campaign on behalf of the young men of that 
city which resulted in the permanent re-establishment of 
the Association. Through the Association, finally, Mr, 
Jesup met Mr. Anthony Comstock, then actively identi- 
fied with a branch of the New York Association, and was 
led to give his support to the brave effort which the lat- 
ter was making almost single-handed against the manu- 
facturers of indecent literature. Each of these episodes 
deserves a word of special notice. 

Mr. Jesup's connection with the Christian Commission 
came about in this way. The Association, as we have 
seen, was founded in 1852. Nine years later the Civil 
War broke out. It was a severe blow to the new organ- 
ization, then still in its experimental stage. Its ranks 
were seriously depleted by the enlistment of its members. 
All eyes were turned to the front, and it was difficult 
to sustain interest in the routine work which had hitherto 


engaged the energies of the Association. But the crisis 
opened a new opportunity, of which its leaders were 
not slow to take advantage. Within a month after the 
conflict began, the army committee of the New York 
City Association was at work among the soldiers in camp. 
Soon there were in the neighborhood of the City as 
many as twenty-two camps of soldiers en route for the 
front and within easy reach of visitation by this com- 
mittee. In other cities there were similar opportunities, 
and it was obvious that if they were to be efficiently met, 
a new and larger organization was necessary. 

To meet this necessity the United States Christian 
Commission was organized. It consisted of twelve mem- 
bers, representing eight leading cities, with strong branch 
committees in each city. George H. Stuart, of Phila- 
delphia, was the head of the entire Commission, and the 
active Chairman of the Executive Committee of the 
New York branch was the Honorable Nathan Bishop. 
Created in November, 1861, by a convention of the differ- 
ent associations meeting in New York City, it became the 
agent of the associations and of the Christian public in 
work among the soldiers. It was the medium by which 
the Christian homes, churches, and communities of the 
country sent material and spiritual comfort to the hus- 
bands, sons, and brothers who were at the front. No less 
than four thousand eight hundred delegates, men and 
women, clergymen and laymen, nurses and other workers, 
were employed as agents of the Commission, and kept the 
men in the field in touch with the home interests which 
they had left behind. Through these agents the Chris- 
tian Commission co-operated efficiently with the United 
States Sanitary Commission in the kindred ministry in 


which It was engaged. During the five years of its ex- 
istence the Commission raised and expended over two 
and a half millions in money, and, in addition, secured 
and distributed donations of stores to the value of three 
million dollars. A million and a half Bibles, three hun- 
dred thousand other books, a million and a quarter 
hymn-books, twenty million papers, magazines, and other 
literature, and eight million knapsack-books were circu- 
lated among the troops. Altogether, the Commission 
proved one of the most beneficent agencies ever devised 
to alleviate the miseries and the horrors of war. 

Mr. Jesup was an active member of the Commission 
from the first. Though but thirty-one years old at the 
time it was organized, he became its treasurer, a position 
which he held until 1880, when the books were finally 
closed. He threw himself into the work heart and soul. 
An old scrap-book among his papers is filled with news- 
paper clippings describing in detail the various meetings 
held on behalf of the committee and the methods which 
they employed in the prosecution of their work. They 
carry us back to the days of storm and stress, when the 
fate of the republic still hung in the balance, and it 
needed faith and courage to believe that the country 
which had so successfully resisted attack from without 
would be able to withstand this more serious challenge 
from within. Mr. Jesup believed with all his heart in the 
righteousness of the Northern cause, and never doubted 
its ultimate success. A Union man through and through, 
what he had seen in the South of the evils of slavery had 
convinced him that no country could permanently pros- 
per which carried such a canker at its heart, and no 
one rejoiced more than he on that memorable day when 


the pen of Abraham Lincoln set the last American slave 

When the war was over, a small balance still remained 
in the treasury of the Commission. This was so wisely 
cared for by Mr. Jesup that after the lapse of fourteen 
years it amounted to twenty-five thousand dollars. In 
1880, with the approval of his associates, he turned it over 
to the New York City Association under an agreement 
which provided that it should be invested in funds designed 
for the erection of one of the Association buildings in 
New York, and that the Association, in consideration 
thereof, should continue "the distribution of papers and 
periodicals from its reading-rooms to the soldiers and sail- 
ors of the United States, in memory of the work done by 
the United States Christian Commission during the years 
1861-1866." ^ The money was thus twice invested, in each 
instance to its full value, and during the twenty years fol- 
lowing over a million pieces of reading matter were grad- 
ually distributed among United States soldiers and sailors. 

In 1877 ^^^ International Committee of the Young 
Men's Christian Association decided to undertake the 
supervision and extension of special work on behalf of 
the railroad employees of the country. Mr. Jesup was 
one of the first to lend his support to the enterprise. The 
work appealed to him strongly. Through his business he 

^ The text of the agreement may still be read on a tablet erected in the prin- 
cipal building of the Young Men's Christian Association in New York City. 
It is as follows: "This tablet was erected to commemorate a gift of twenty- 
five thousand dollars on December 28, 1880, of the New York Branch of the 
Young Men's Christian Association of the City of New York, that the Associa- 
tion may keep alive and cherish in the minds of its members their interest in 
the welfare of the officers and men of our army and navy and carry on in con- 
sideration of this gift the distribution of papers and periodicals from its reading- 
rooms to the soldiers and sailors of the United States, in memory of the work 
done by the United States Christian Commission during the years 1861-1866." 


had been brought into intimate association with rail- 
road men and railroad problems, and he realized better 
than most men how much the work was needed. He 
believed in the co-operative principles on which the work 
was conducted, the plans providing that the employees 
should share with the employers both in its management 
and support. He therefore willingly accepted a position 
on the International Railroad Committee and served 
continuously until his death. During the thirty years in 
which he was identified with the committee his aid and 
sympathy were constant. His influence and example were 
a powerful factor in enlisting in the undertaking other 
men of importance in the railroad world, both older and 
younger, notably Mr. Cornelius Vanderbilt, his junior 
both in railroad and in Association service. His gifts in 
money amounted to over fifty thousand dollars, half of 
this taking the form of an endowment perpetuating his 
annual gifts. He noted with satisfaction the growing 
interest and approval with which the work was regarded 
by railroad capitalists and officials, and rejoiced to see 
the example of the railroad men followed by workers be- 
longing to other social groups. The soundness of the 
methods followed is evidenced by the fact that they have 
been successfully applied not only among railroad men 
but among miners, lumbermen, cotton-mill hands, fac- 
tory operatives, government employees on the canal 
zone and in construction camps, as well as soldiers and 
sailors in military camps and naval stations. 

In 1876 Mr. Jesup had occasion to visit the Pacific 
coast and was greatly impressed with the need of aggres- 
sive Christian work of the kind which had already been 
successfully carried on in New York City. The Associa- 


tlon of San Francisco was at this time deeply in debt and 
in need of a thorough reorganization. It occurred to Mr. 
Jesup that if Mr. Moody, who was then in the height of his 
success as an evangelist, could be induced to go to San 
Francisco, an impulse might be given to the Christian life 
of that city which would not only arouse an immediate 
interest in religion, but would put the Association upon 
its feet and make it the efficient instrument for Christian 
service which in his conviction it ought to be. Mr. Moody 
and Mr. Jesup had been friends for some years. During 
the evangelistic campaign which Mr. Moody had just 
completed in New York City he had been Mr. Jesup's 
guest, and the latter had gained an insight into his meth- 
ods and had formed a high opinion of his judgment. 
He accordingly proposed to Mr. Moody to inaugurate a 
campaign in San Francisco similar to that which he had 
already conducted in New York. Mr. Moody accepted 
the invitation and, in co-operation with the International 
Committee, of which Mr. Jesup was at that time a mem- 
ber, a very satisfactory work was carried on by the evan- 
gelist, in the fruits of which the people of San Fran- 
cisco and the Association alike participated. The debt 
of the Association was wiped out, Mr. Jesup taking 
the lead in securing a gift of ten thousand dollars from 
friends in New York. When, thirty years later, San 
Francisco met with her great calamity, and the building 
of the Association shared the common fate of its neigh- 
bors at the hands of earthquake and fire, it was to Mr. 
Jesup that the Association turned for help in its hour of 
need. The response was instant and generous. Mr. Jesup 
consented to become chairman of a committee to raise 
the half million dollars needed for a new building and 


led the list of donors with his own gift of fifty thousand 

The intimate relations which Mr. Jesup sustained 
with Mr. Moody at this time continued uninterrupted 
until the latter's death. The evangeUst found in Mr. 
Jesup an intelligent and sympathetic supporter in the 
various enterprises in which he was engaged. He was a 
frequent visitor at Mr. Jesup's home and valued the 
advice which he received there as much as the money 
which he carried away. It was a rare January which did 
not find among Mr. Jesup's early letters one from Mr. 
Moody. The following, chosen from several which have 
chanced to survive, is so characteristic both of the writer 
and of the recipient that I shall be pardoned for quoting 
it in full: 

Mount Hermon Boys' School, 

January 2, 1 89 1. 
My Dear Mr. Jesup: 

Excuse me for my boldness, but I know you will give 
away about so much in 1891, and if I can get my call in 
early enough I think you will remember me some time in 
the year. Mount Hermon has added ;^ 180,000 to your 
;f5,ooo. The Sem. has about ;? 100,000 and the school at 
Chicago has property worth about ^150,000 and the 
^100,000 as endowment. Now, if my friends will help me 
a few years longer I think I will then have them all en- 
dowed and in good working order. 

The last time I saw you you said you wanted results. 
I think we can show them to you now and if you call me 
up here in the Spring I think we can cheer your heart. 

Thanking you for your help in the past and wishing 
you A Happy New Year and a joyful eternity, I remain, 
Your true friend, 

(Signed) D. L. Moody. 


In March, 1872, the Secretary of the Young Men's 
Christian Association received a note from a young man 
named Anthony Comstock, requesting his help in the 
efforts which he was making to suppress the traffic in 
indecent literature, which at that time was being carried 
on among young men to an appalling extent. The 
letter, which was in pencil, was so indistinctly written 
that he returned it to the writer to be recopied. But 
before it left his hands he showed it to Mr. Jesup, and 
the latter was so much impressed by what he read that 
he determined to visit the writer in person, in order to 
hear his story for himself. 

The story which Mr. Jesup heard appealed strongly 
to his sympathies. Five years before, Comstock had 
come to New York with five dollars in his pocket to seek 
his fortune. After a few days he found a position as 
porter in a dry-goods house, and later became stock clerk 
in a wholesale notion house in Warren Street. Here he 
was brought into contact with large numbers of young 
men and soon discovered that some of them were being 
demoralized by obscene books and pictures which were 
systematically circulated among them. 

Comstock was not a man who waited for others to do 
things. Learning from one of his fellow-clerks the name 
of the man who supplied the literature, he had him ar- 
rested. A similar effort some time later revealed to him 
the fact that he had to do with an organized business 
which relied on the protection of the police, and that, 
unless he could secure the assistance of some one of 
greater means and influence than his own, his efforts 
would be fruitless. At this juncture he wrote the letter 
to the Young Men's Christian Association which led to 


his acquaintance with Mr. Jesup, and ultimately to the 
formation of the Society for the Suppression of Vice. 

From the first, Mr. Jesup interested himself in Corn- 
stock's work, securing from him a full statement of his 
plans in detail, and submitting them to a meeting of in- 
fluential men held at his own house to take counsel as to 
the best method of carrying them out. As a result of 
this meeting a committee was organized under the aus- 
pices of the Young Men's Christian Association, of which 
Mr. Jesup became a member, to supervise the work and 
to provide the funds necessary for its support. Mr. 
Jesup contributed largely to the committee, and when 
emergencies arose when speedy action was necessary to 
secure results, his personal check was readily forthcom- 
ing. It was largely due to his influence and to that of 
Mr. Dodge that in 1873 Comstock succeeded in getting 
the bill passed by Congress which put into his hands 
the power necessary to a successful prosecution of his 
work. More than once when Comstock was publicly 
attacked, Mr. Jesup came to his support. On one oc- 
casion when, in the course of a libel suit which he had 
felt obliged to bring against a certain man who had 
notoriously misrepresented him, he was subjected to more 
than usually outrageous abuse, Mr. Jesup, at great per- 
sonal inconvenience, went to Philadelphia in order to 
be present at the trial and to testify to his confidence in 
Comstock, whom he declared he knew well and "would 
trust with all his possessions." 

It required no little moral courage for Mr. Jesup and his 
associates to take this stand. The forces which opposed 
Comstock were powerful and well organized. His efforts 
were denounced as fanatical and tyrannical. The legisla- 


tion he had secured was declared to endanger the free- 
dom of the press and of speech, and, under the lead of 
the so-called National Liberal League, an organization in 
which Robert G. IngersoU took a prominent part, millions 
of signatures were secured to a petition which two years 
later was presented in Washington in favor of its repeal. 
Moreover, there was a feeling among many persons who 
sympathized with Comstock's objects that the matters 
with which he had to deal were too unpleasant to be 
touched by persons of sensitive feeling, and that more 
harm was done by stirring up the pool than by letting 
it lie. So strong was this feeling and so great the odium 
which attached to those who supported Comstock, that 
the committee of the Young Men's Christian Associa- 
tion, under which up to May, 1873, the work had been 
carried on, considered it no longer expedient to con- 
tinue its official support. Under the circumstances it 
was necessary to form a new organization, and, accord- 
ingly, in May, 1873, a meeting was held in Mr. Jesup's 
house, at which the Society for the Suppression of Vice, 
as it is now known, was formally launched on its career. 
Mr. Samuel Colgate became the President of the new 
organization. Mr. Jesup was its Vice-President, and a 
member of the Board of Managers, a position which he 
held until ten years before his death. 

Among Mr. Comstock's papers are found many letters 
from Mr. Jesup, which show the interest with which he 
followed the details of the Society's work. Dealing, most 
of them, with matters of routine, they are yet full of little 
touches which shed interesting side-lights upon the char- 
acter of the writer. Writing under date of January 14, 
1880, to express his regret at being unable to attend the 


annual meeting, he says: "I regret this the more be- 
cause you need all the encouragement you can get, and I 
always want, so far as I am concerned, to give you what- 
ever I can in every way." A year later he writes: **I was 
very much delighted with the meeting last night, par- 
ticularly with your report. The only thing that I regret 
is that the opportunity was not better improved for tak- 
ing up a collection." Five years later, under date of 
December 28, 1886: "Do not hesitate to come and see 
me any time when you feel that any counsel or advice 
would be of service to you. It is impossible for me to 
set the time, as I am always busy, but some day when 
you are passing my office, drop in and we will make 
arrangements for a talk." Ten years later, referring to 
an attack which had been made upon Mr. Comstock, 
he writes: "You will have seen Mr. Colgate to-day and 
will have learned from what he tells you, how indignant 
I feel about the treatment you have received. I shall do 
all I can to have justice done you. God rules and will 
bring out all things for your good, for you are his child 
and he will guide and protect you. What has been done 
will injure those who have done the evil more than you." 
And again, in an undated letter, referring to a recent illness 
of his own: "I am out now and shall try to see you in a 
few days, as you need sympathy now. You have mine, 
no matter what the vile press says, as long as you do 
right. God is with you and if he is, what do you care 
for man?" Another letter, also undated, is in the same 
strain: "I have been more or less confined to my house 
for ten weeks with my old enemy, a rheumatic knee. I 
see you need cheering up. Come and dine with me on 
Wednesday evening, come here at half past seven, or, if 


you cannot do this, come some morning at ten o'clock. 
You know I will stand by you." And still again: "I did 
not intend this week should pass without my seeing you 
and having a good talk, but what am I to do ? I work 
every moment trying to do my duty. I cannot do more. 
So the week has gone. I shall try to see you early in the 

An early letter, referring to some forgotten scandal, 
well illustrates Mr. Jesup's uncompromising attitude in 
matters of right and wrong. 

197 Madison Avenue, N. Y. 

October Sth, 1877. 
My Dear Mr. Comstock: 

Your letter of the 6th came to hand this morning, and I 
have given the same my careful thought and attention. 

I am pained and worried that any officer of the Society 
which you represent, and which was formed after so 
much thought and trial, should even think of compromis- 
ing or compounding with any party or individual who has 
been caught in dealing, or abetting, in the vile stuff which 
is causing so much misery and moral stain among our 
young men and women. I cannot believe that our Society 
are sincere in proposing any compromise. No, sir, I hope 
you will stand firm and, by your acts, show to the world 
that any and every one found guilty of breaking the law 
and doing business in this "vile stuff" shall be punishedy 
no matter who it hurts. 

Yours most truly, 

(Signed) Morris K. Jesup. 

Under date of October, 1896, Mr. Jesup writes of his 
great regret at the retirement of Mr. Samuel Colgate 
from the Society, made necessary by the condition of his 
health: "I do not know how this place is to be filled. 


As you know, I have had for a long time a very great 
desire to retire myself from the Society, and I have re- 
peatedly explained to you my reason, but my regard for 
Mr. Colgate and for yourself personally has kept me 
from doing what I ought to have done and ought to do 
now/' For two years after this letter Mr. Jesup continued 
to act as Vice-President, but the increasing pressure of 
his other duties and the urgent advice of his physician 
made his retirement at last a necessity, and on January 
17, 1898, he sent in his resignation, accompanying it with 
a letter in which he spoke of his real regret at the neces- 
sity for his taking this step, and assuring Mr. Comstock 
that he should ever continue to take a great interest 
in him and in the Society itseh and do all that he could 
to promote its welfare. 


"^rO one who followed Mr. Jesup's later life could doubt 
that the reason which he gave for resigning from the 
Society for the Suppression of Vice was a legitimate one. 
It was literally true that he was busy every moment. 
From the bewildering variety of his philanthropies we 
may select three as representative. His agitation on be- 
half of the preservation of the Adirondack forests illus- 
trates his interest in the conservation of those natural re- 
sources which are the basal condition of a sound national 
life. His work as a member of the Committee of Five 
to secure cleaner streets for the City of New York is 
typical of his sense of civic responsibility, while his ser- 
vices to the South in connection with his treasurership 
of the Slater Fund show the fundamental place which he 
assigned to industrial education among the agencies for 
making and training citizens. Through these, illustrating 
as they do widely different fields of his activity, it will be 
possible for us to gain an insight into the principles which 
governed him in all that he did. 

On December 6, 1883, Mr. Jesup, acting at the request 
of the Executive Committee, presented in the Chamber 



of Commerce the following memorial addressed to the 
Legislature of the State of New York: 

To THE Honorable the Legislature of the State of 
New York, in Senate and Assembly convened: 

May it please your Honorable Body: 

The Chamber of Commerce of the State of New York 
is alarmed at the dangers which threaten the water sup- 
ply of the rivers in the northern part of the State through 
the destruction of the forests which protect their sources. 

The Chamber believes that the preservation of these 
forests is necessary to maintain an abundant and constant 
flow of water in the Hudson, the Mohawk and other im- 
portant streams; and that their destruction will seriously 
injure the internal commerce of the State. As long as 
this forest region remains in the possession of private 
individuals, its protection from fire and lumbering oper- 
ations will be impossible. Believing, then, that this 
matter is one of very great importance, and that the 
necessity exists for immediate legislative action, we 
humbly pray your Honorable Body to adopt such meas- 
ures as will enable the State to acquire the whole terri- 
tory popularly known as the Adirondack Wilderness, 
and hold it forever as a forest preserve. 

Mr. Jesup was led to take this action through the 
knowledge which he had gained as President of the Natu- 
ral History Museum, and especially through his studies 
in connection with the Jesup collection of the woods of 
America. These studies had brought him into contact 
with experts in the art of forest preservation, and he had 
learned from them the danger to which the country was 
exposed through the rapid destruction of its forest pre- 
serve. The knowledge was not as familiar then as it 
has since become, and public sentiment was still unedu- 


cated. Mr. Jesup, realizing the danger, felt that energetic 
action was necessary, and the memorial which he pre- 
sented to the Chamber was the form which this action 

In urging the adoption of this resolution Mr. Jesup 
called the attention of the Chamber to the irreparable 
injury which would be done to the great waterway lead- 
ing to New York City through the threatened destruction 
of the Adirondack Wilderness. He explained the rela- 
tion of the forests to the water supply, showing how the 
forests store up and preserve from evaporation the large 
precipitation of rain, and particularly the snow which the 
mountains attract, a service all the more important be- 
cause the natural water-shed of the rivers which serve 
New York State, such as the Hudson, the Mohawk, and 
the Black, is so limited. He illustrated the truth of this 
assertion by showing the diminution which had already 
taken place in the Hudson as a result of the destruction of 
a considerable portion of the forests which once covered 
its water-shed. He reminded the Chamber that so long 
as the high mountain ridges where the greatest snowfall 
occurred were preserved, the most serious danger would 
be avoided, but declared that unless prompt action were 
taken it would be too late to prevent even this. He 
showed how the profit on lumber and forest products 
all over the country had so advanced that it had be- 
come profitable to cut and market the comparatively infe- 
ferior Adirondack lumber. He reminded them, more- 
over, of the danger of forest fires which would result from 
carrying railroads through the forest regions to transport 
the products of the mills which were rapidly multiplying. 
He concluded in the following words: "A wise and com- 


prehensive State policy will seize upon the whole forest 
region, perhaps four million acres in excess of the present 
State holding, and keep it for all time as a great forest 
preserve and in this way insure abundant water to the 
Hudson and the canal. The money that this would cost 
the State, great as the sum would be, would be returned 
in improvements and more permanent agriculture." 

The resolution was adopted by the Chamber, and on 
Mr. Jesup's motion a committee of seven was appointed, 
of which he was made the chairman, to seek the co-opera- 
tion of associations and individuals throughout the State 
to secure the necessary legislation. 

The committee took up the matter with energy. They 
circulated a petition throughout the State which received 
many signatures. They appeared before a special com- 
mittee of the Senate at Albany on December 28, in order 
to urge upon them the purchase by the State of the four 
million acres of private forest land in the Adirondack 
region needed for the protection of the sources of the 
Hudson. At the hearing Mr. Jesup repeated the argu- 
ments which he had already used before the Chamber. 
The opposition was strong and well organized. The fa- 
miliar arguments of paternalism and extravagance were 
worked for all they were worth. But Mr. Jesup and his 
friends were not discouraged and, as a result of the vig- 
orous campaign they organized, the proposed legislation 
was eventually secured, much to the advantage of the 
people of the State. 

Mr. Jesup was not content with securing the original 
legislation. He watched with jealous eye all later en- 
croachments upon the forest preserve of the State and 
more than once addressed the Chamber on the subject. 


In 1888 he urged upon the Chamber their support of the 
additional legislation recommended by the State Forestry 
Commission with a view to preventing "railroad com- 
panies from constructing through or in any way encroach- 
ing upon the forests owned by the State." Here, as so 
often, his work was that of a pioneer. To-day forest 
preservation has become an accepted national policy; 
but twenty-five years ago this was not the case, and the 
action taken by the Chamber of Commerce on Mr. 
Jesup's initiative was an important factor in educating 
the sentiment which has made the wider movement pos- 

One of the most interesting episodes in Mr. Jesup's 
life was the part which he took in securing the establish- 
ment of an efficient Street Cleaning Department in the 
City of New York. It is difficult for any one to-day, even 
chronic complainers, to realize what were the condi- 
tions in New York City in the early eighties. "The 
tenement-house districts, the needs of which always re- 
ceived a large share of Mr. Jesup*s attention, were some- 
times left for several weeks in the snows of winter without 
the removal of garbage. Children were allowed to stir 
and eat out of ash barrels, and even discarded mat- 
tresses, trunks, etc., were left unmoved in the streets for 
days." In two words the state of things was "intolera- 
ble and indescribable." 

I owe to Mr. Thatcher M. Adams, who was himself 
an efficient worker in the cause of clean streets, my in- 
formation as to the part which Mr. Jesup bore in the 
movement which finally put an end to this state of affairs. 
The story falls into two chapters, separated by an inter- 
val of ten years. 


In 1 88 1 a committee of the New York Municipal So- 
ciety, of which Mr. Jesup was a member, took up the 
matter of the condition of the streets, made an exhaust- 
ive examination of the subject and an extended report 
which created much excitement. Mr. Jesup was present 
at the reading of the report and at once enhsted in the 
cause. An active agitation was at once begun, and through 
the efforts of Mr. Jesup and his fellow-members the situ- 
ation was so fully exploited that the real danger became 
apparent to all. Public indignation reached a climax 
in the early part of March, 1881, and resulted in a call 
for a mass-meeting of citizens. So large and notable a 
list of signers to the call had not been published, nor 
had any similar popular uprising been seen in New York 
since the Union Square meeting on the fall of Fort Sum- 
ter, or the anti-ring demonstration in Cooper Union in 
1871. At this meeting a committee of twenty-one repre- 
sentative citizens was appointed to secure a permanent 
change for the better in the matter of cleaning the streets. 

Mr. Jesup was a member of that committee and an 
active and efficient participant in all its proceedings. 
He accompanied the committee to Albany and gave 
nearly three weeks of his valuable time to the efforts then 
made to secure the needed legislation. These efforts 
failed for the reason openly stated by the Speaker of the 
Assembly that the party in power feared the loss of 
patronage if the committee were given its bill. Mr. 
Adams recalls "with a smile, but with reminiscent sym- 
pathy, the indignation of Mr. Jesup with its forcible ex- 
pression." Six members of the Assembly voting against 
the committee were from the City of New York. Most 
of these offered themselves for re-election in the following 


November. They were prudent enough not to announce 
their candidature until the last moment. The Committee 
of Twenty-one hastily assembled and prepared a spirited 
protest, but found it impossible to secure its printing as 
a poster by any New York house. In conjunction with 
Mr. Pierpont Morgan, Mr. Jesup thereupon wired the 
protest to Philadelphia, had it printed in striking capitals, 
and returned in time to placard the entire city. Every 
hostile candidate failed of re-election. 

With the defeat of these candidates the first chapter 
in Mr. Jesup's connection with the movement for reform 
in street cleaning concludes. The second begins ten 
years later. During the intervening decade the cause 
had made but little progress. The dead wall of political 
interest interposed itself against every forward stride 
until the obstacles seemed insurmountable. "The cynical 
indifference," writes Mr. Adams, "shown by both polit- 
ical parties to the health and comfort of the citizens of 
New York, as contrasted with their eagerness to control 
the appointment and to levy toll upon the wages of the 
amiable gentlemen who by a polite convention were 
supposed to clean the streets, would be ludicrous if it 
were not lamentable. During this long interval Mr. Jesup 
never relaxed in his determination and struggle to secure 
an efficient street-cleaning service, and when ten years 
later an opportunity came, he embraced it with charac- 
teristic promptness of decision." 

In November, 1888, Mr. Hugh J. Grant was elected 
Mayor after a bitter and heated contest with Mr. Hewitt. 
Mr. Jesup had been one of Mr. Hewitt's most pronounced 
supporters, but, putting aside all feelings of personal 
regret at the outcome, he called upon Mr. Grant shortly 


after his inauguration and urged him to take up the 
street-cleaning question, assuring him that its successful 
treatment would be an infinite credit to his administra- 
tion. As a result of this interview" Mr. Jesup invited 
four gentlemen to meet the Mayor at luncheon at his 
house and to discuss the situation. These gentlemen were 
Professor Chandler, of Columbia University, General 
Francis V. Greene, Mr. David H. King, Jr., and Mr. 
Thatcher M. Adams. What followed is thus described 
by Mr. Adams: 

The Mayor met us cordially, assured us of his hearty 
co-operation and invited us to form ourselves into a Com- 
mittee to examine into, and report to him upon the sub- 
ject of street cleaning, at the same time placing at our dis- 
posal a large district in the City upon which we might 
exercise ourselves for a period of three months, in giving 
an object lesson as to how proper cleanHness should be 
enforced. The writer, somewhat distrustful of Greeks 
who bring gifts, ventured to whisper to his associates that 
it might be well before accepting such an appointment 
to append a condition that our recommendations when 
made should be adopted, but he was over-ruled, and 
the invitation of the Mayor was accepted unconditionally, 
Mr. Jesup was made Chairman of the Committee. . . . 
Its object lesson was a pronounced success and the ex- 
piration of the three months during which it lasted was 
mourned with profound regret by every resident of the 
district. But the new departure of the appointment by 
the Mayor of this Committee and his setting it to work 
on a practical exemplification of how to do it, caused an 
unexampled fluttering in the dovecote of Tammany Hall, 
the results of which appeared later on. Mr. Jesup, as 
always, was eager and active in the work of the Commit- 
tee and gave ungrudgingly of his valuable time and prac- 
tical knowledge of affairs in its service. At the termina- 


tion of its three months' probation he, at the head of his 
Committee, presented its conclusions and recommenda- 
tions to the Mayor at the City Hall. 

But here unexpected difficulties arose. One of our 
chief recommendations concerned the employment and 
wages of labor. This was more than was bargained for. 
In lieu of thanks for its service the Committee was dis- 
missed with scant ceremony, and its labor appeared to 
be in vain. But good seed is never wasted. Though 
sown in tears it is reaped at last in joy. With the elec- 
tion of Mayor Strong came an opportunity, and Mr. 
Jesup was not slow to avail himself of it. I do not know 
if he suggested the appointment of Colonel Waring as 
Street Cleaning Commissioner, but I do know that he en- 
dorsed it heartily and was delighted at its confirmation. 
And with good reason, for though defects still exist, and 
political influence is still rife, he lived to see New York a 
clean city.^ 

^ How highly Colonel Waring appreciated Mr. Jesup's influence in the cause 
appears from the following letter, written under date of May 21, 1895, when 
he was seeking against strong opposition to carry through his policy of 
removing the trucks from the streets of New York: 

"New York, May 21st, 1895. 
"Dear Mr. Jesup: 

" I appeal to you, not only as Commissioner but personally, and in the strong- 
est way, to do everything in your power to secure, at the hearing to be given at 
the City Hall on Monday, May 27, at 3 p. m., a formidable showing of those 
persons of all classes who are opposed to the use of the streets as a storage 
place for vehicles. 

"His Honor, Mayor Strong, is resolutely determined to do everything in his 
power for the abatement of the nuisance, and the Governor of the State is, I 
believe, equally determined. At the same time the organized influence in favor 
of practically unlimited license is so great (nearly 3,000 truckmen having signed 
the petition for the Sullivan bill), that it is not fair to these oflScers to expect 
them to stand up alone against this pressure. 

"If the Sullivan bill should be signed, all our work would be undone, and 
the streets would be given over, — probably for a long time to come, — to the old 
truck-storage use. If the bill is vetoed, there will be practically not one unhar- 
nessed vehicle left in the streets six weeks hence. 

" What this means to the City of New York few persons not familiar with the 
poorer quarters begin to understand. We all see that trucks are an obstacle 
to the cleaning of the streets, to the circulation of air, and to the free use of the 


In a recent conversation with the writer a friend of 
Mr. Jesup recalls the surprise he once felt on passing Mr. 
Jesup on Wall Street to see him arm in arm with a negro, 
with whom he was carrying on an animated conver- 
sation. Who the man was and what Mr. Jesup thought 
of him may be learned from the following letter, written 
to his friend Mr. Alexander Orr, like himself, a member 
of the Slater Board : 

December seventh, 1900. 
Dear Mr. Orr: 

I have read, with great interest, Booker T. Washing- 
ton's book on "The Future of the American Negro.'* 
In my judgment, it is the best statement of facts, together 
with what is to be done hereafter that I have read. 

It has occurred to me that it would be a good thing to 
spend some of the income of the Slater Trust in purchas- 
ing a cheap edition, say, ten thousand numbers, of this 
book, for jfree distribution among the whites and blacks 

highway for traffic. We do not see the degree to which standing trucks fill the 
lives of persons compelled to live in the houses before which they stand, with 
annoyance, danger and shame. The trucks are used, inside and out, for the 
vilest purposes. They are skulking places for disorderly and dangerous char- 
acters, and they subject the helpless population of the tenement-house regions 
to annoyance and causes of demoralization from which those who are influential 
in the community are in duty bound to protect them. 

"Furthermore, since the trucks have been removed from these districts, the 
development of a playground and exercise place for children and for persons of 
all ages that has resulted therefrom, has been most marked and most cordially 
appreciated. In the district east of the Bowery and south of Houston Street, 
on any pleasant afternoon or evening, the streets present a very different aspect 
from that of a year ago, and a very much more encouraging aspect. 

"It is to be hoped that representatives of all the tenement-house regions, 
especially their women, will add by their presence to the force of what ought to 
be a universal demand for protection. 

"I ask you personally to do all that you can to make the attendance at this 
hearing as large and influential as possible. 

"Very truly yours, 

(Signed) "Geo. E. Waring, Jr. 
"Morris K. Jesup, Esq., 

"197 Madison Ave., City." 


in the South. If you have not seen the book, I will ask 
Mr. Strong to send you a copy, and when you have read it, 
I would like to have your opinion as to the propriety of 
my suggestions. 

Yours very truly, 

(Signed) Morris K. Jesup. 
Alexander E. Orr, Esq., 

105 Produce Exchange Building, 
New York. 

This letter may serve to introduce the story of Mr. 
Jesup's services to the cause of negro education, to which 
he gave his best energies for more than a quarter of a 

Mr. Jesup's interest in the cause of the negro dates 
back to 1858 and came about in the following way. 
Shortly before the war he had occasion to make a busi- 
ness journey to Richmond, Virginia, in connection with 
a railroad project undertaken by the Board of Internal 
Improvement of Virginia. Under the proposed plan the 
State was authorized to subscribe for three-fifths of the 
cost of the railroad and to issue State bonds in payment 
for such subscription. It was proposed to secure the re- 
maining two-fifths from private capital, either from in- 
dividuals, cities, towns, or counties, the State to control 
all construction and manage the property. There were 
at this time few, if any, miles of railroad in the South, 
the Virginia Central being almost the only road of any 
importance in the State. Some idea of the inconveniences 
of travel at the time may be gained from Mr. Jesup's 
description of his journey to Richmond. In order to 
reach it he had to "go by boat to Perth Amboy, then by 
the Camden & Amboy Railroad to Camden, then across 


to Philadelphia, then through the city by street car to the 
railroad station, then to the Havre de Grace ferry." In 
the course of the journey to Baltimore it was necessary to 
change from cars to boat twice, then to go across Balti- 
more by omnibus to the railroad station, then by flat rail 
to Washington, then on by the Potomac to the Aquia 
Creek and by strap rail to Richmond. On his arrival at 
Richmond Mr. Jesup was courteously received by his 
correspondent, and the details of the proposed business 
practically completed. In the afternoon his friend invited 
him to see the sights of Richmond, among which the 
slave market occupied a prominent place. What fol- 
lows may be given in Mr. Jesup's own words: "We went 
to the old tobacco house, not far from the hotel. I was 
taken into a private room on the floor adjoining the slave 
block, where men and women were housed and ready to 
be examined as to their bodies by the dealers who were to 
bid at the sale. I saw a man and woman stripped and 
examined, as if they had been animals. I saw a woman, 
and also a man, placed upon the block and sold. The 
man was married and, of course, was to be sold away 
from his family. I left the scene a sad and sober man, 
and took away with me a vivid idea of the horrors of 
slavery. I made up my mind that no State or community 
could prosper that sanctioned or allowed it. I thought the 
State of Virginia must sooner or later fall into disgrace, be- 
cause her people could not maintain any idea of honor. 
I said to myself, *Is it right for me, is it safe for me and 
my friends to enter into large obligations in this connec- 
tion?' I decided that I would abandon my business 
relations at once and return to New York. I went to my 
hotel, wrote to my friend that I was obliged to return to 


New York and would advise him further from there, 
which I did, asking him to excuse me from any further 
business consideration of the matters which had been 
discussed between us. The decision proved most wise, 
for it was not long after this that the trouble between the 
North and the South came on, and Virginia repudiated 
her obligations." 

The incident made a profound impression upon Mr. 
Jesup, who used often to speak of it in after life, declar- 
ing that the scene which he had witnessed in the slave 
market at Richmond was "the most awful, the most 
heart-breaking, the most repulsive sight of his whole 
life." The emotion which it stirred within him was 
further intensified by his experiences in connection with 
the work of the Christian Commission, and from that 
time until his death the cause of the negro found in him a 
consistent and devoted supporter. It was not, however, 
until 1882, two years after his resignation of the treasurer- 
ship of the Commission that the opportunity came to him 
to serve the cause in a large way. In this year Mr. John 
F. Slater, a prominent business man of Norwich, Con- 
necticut, and an old friend of Mr. Jesup, determined to 
appropriate the sum of one million dollars for the educa- 
tion of the negro. He consulted Mr. Jesup as to the 
best method of accomplishing his purpose, and the re- 
sult was the formation of a Board of Trustees consisting 
of a number of gentlemen eminent in church and state, 
who should hold the money in trust and determine the 
policy to be pursued under it. The original board con- 
sisted of ex-President Hayes, Chief- Justice Waite, Mr. 
William E. Dodge, of New York, Bishop Phillips Brooks, 
of Massachusetts, President Daniel C. Gilman, of Mary- 


land, Mr. John A. Stewart, of New York, Mr. Alfred 
H. Colquitt, of Georgia, the Reverend James P. Boyce, 
of Kentucky, Mr. William A. Slater, of Connecticut, and 
Mr. Jesup. Mr. Jesup secured the necessary act of in- 
corporation from the Legislature, and the first meeting 
of the new board was held in May, 1883, at his office, at 
which time all the members were present except Mr. 
Dodge and Phillips Brooks, who were so far away at the 
time that it was impossible for them to attend. The 
Board was duly organized by the election of Chief- Justice 
Waite as President, President Gilman as Secretary, and 
Mr. Jesup as Treasurer. The latter was also made a 
member of the Finance Committee. 

After the adjournment of the Board Mr. Jesup gave a 
dinner at his residence in honor of Mr. Slater, who had 
been present as an invited guest at the first meeting. 
The dinner was attended, among others, by the Reverend 
Dr. Dix, the Reverend Dr. Storrs, the Reverend Dr. 
Taylor, the Reverend Dr. Leonard W. Bacon, the Hon- 
orable E. D. Morgan, the Honorable Carl Schurz, the 
Honorable John Welch, the Honorable Samuel E. Bald- 
win, the Honorable T. Hillhouse, and Mr. William E. 
Dodge, Jr. A number of notable addresses were made, 
of which, unfortunately, no record remains. 

In accordance with his promise, Mr. Slater turned over 
to the Trustees for the purpose of the Fund five hun- 
dred Louisville, New Orleans & Chicago six-per-cent. 
bonds of the Chicago & Indianapolis division, and five 
hundred thousand dollars in cash. Mr. Jesup, with the 
advice of his Finance Committee, at once proceeded to 
invest the balance of the money in good bonds, and from 
that time until his death, took the greatest pride and the 


greatest pains in the investing of the fund, which, as a 
result of his management, amounted at the time of his 
death to one million six hundred and sixty-three thousand 
dollars, and yielded an income of eighty-seven thousand 
eight hundred and fifteen dollars, or over five per cent, 
on the money invested. At no time during the existence 
of the fund has any of its investments failed to pay in- 

The principles which governed Mr. Jesup in his in- 
vestment of this fund show the wise foresight with which 
he anticipated the future. Realizing that the rate of in- 
terest to be paid on securities would inevitably decHne, 
he advised the board not to spend all the annual income 
of the fund, but to use a portion of it as a sinking-fund, 
so that as the higher interest-bearing bonds were paid off 
and they were obliged to substitute in place of them 
bonds bearing a lower rate of interest they would be 
able to preserve the original income of the fund, namely, 
sixty thousand dollars, intact. The wisdom of this policy 
is shown by its results. At Mr. Jesup's death, instead of 
being sixty thousand dollars, the income of the fund was 
nearly ninety thousand dollars. 

Nor was Mr. Jesup's interest in the fund simply on 
the financial side. He was an influential factor in deter- 
mining the policy of the board in matters of expenditure. 
He was one of a special committee of five which at the out- 
set was appointed with power to carry out suggestions 
made by the Secretary, Dr. Oilman, regarding a general 
policy, and, in order to fit himself to be an intelligent 
adviser, he made a long tour through the Southern States, 
an account of which he subsequently gave to the trustees. 
In 1890 an educational committee of six was provided 


for, and Mr. Jesup as treasurer became ex officio 3. mem- 
ber of it and served continuously until his death. Some 
idea of the fidelity with which he followed the work of 
the board may be gained from the fact that of the thirty- 
eight meetings held from its foundation until the time of 
his death, he was absent from only four. 

In the course of his study of the negro problem Mr. 
Jesup became convinced that the chief hope of the South- 
ern negro at the present time was in industrial education, 
and the policy which the board later adopted of concen- 
trating their gifts along this line met with his hearty 
approval. The reasons which led Mr. Jesup to take this 
position may be learned from the following letter, written 
some years later, to his friend Mr. Alexander E. Orr. 
The latter had appealed to him on behalf of a certain 
institution for the higher education of the negro which 
was not at that time receiving help from the Slater Fund. 
Mr. Jesup answered as follows: 

Hotel Brighton, March ^ist. 
Dear Mr. Orr: 

I have your letter of the 27th and have read with inter- 
est the letters you enclose. Having been connected with 
the Slater Trust from the beginning I am, of course, 
familiar with all its proceedings. It has taken a long time 
to study the question how to use our income in the way 
best to promote the cause of the negro race. We began 
by aiding just such causes as the one you name. Indeed, 
we gave to this institution for several years. Finally, 
after a long, careful and painstaking study the trustees 
decided to withdraw their gifts from such institutions and 
to take up earnestly the industrial line. I think I may say 
that our Trust is the father of this side of the work, which 
I regard as the best side for the future of the negro. It 


is through the large aid which we have extended to Hamp- 
ton, Tuskegee, Claflin and Spelman Institutes that these 
are now furnishing such splendid object-lessons to the 
country. They must be fostered and aided for a few years 
more until they fairly stand erect without outside support. 
My idea is to carry out our aims in other localities also. 
We cannot do this without large gifts to start with, and I 
do not see how we can keep up what we have under- 
taken and do much, if anything, for other institutions, 
however meritorious they may appear to be. I may say 
that I have carefully studied the whole question. I have 
been South almost every year for the last thirty years. I 
have visited the institution you name. I think I know 
something of it and of others of like nature in other 
Southern cities. If we help one we will be urged to aid 
others equally meritorious. 

Some time when you have leisure, if you will read over 
the proceedings of the Slater Board and Dr. Currie's 
reports for years back, you will see the reasons defined 
for the trustees' present action in confining their aid to 
industrial lines. However, times change, and it may be 
that when the fund has reached the mark which, as 
treasurer, with the approval of the trustees, I have fixed 
for it so as to make its future stable, and we can afford to 
be more liberal and go out on new lines, the trustees may 
decide to take up other work. 

Excuse this long letter. I may not have the chance to 
talk with you before the meeting and I thought it was due 
to you that I should give you some of the reasons why I 
think that at this time there may be objections to grant- 
ing what your friends so much desire. 

Yours faithfully, 

Morris K. Jesup. 

Mr. Jesup was consistent in his adherence to the 
policy thus outlined. He not only influenced the giving 
of the Boards on which he was a representative, but he 


gave liberally himself to the cause of industrial education. 
He was one of the chief donors to the Slater-Armstrong 
Trade School at Hampton, Virginia, as well as to the 
similar school opened three years later at Tuskegee. 
He was influential in the organization of the Southern 
industrial classes, a movement whose paramount object 
was "the making of home-makers and wage-earners, 
equipping the negro woman to lead a respectable and 
useful life for her own sake and for the sake of her people 
and of the whole community." The meeting which gave 
its original impulse to this beneficent work was held at 
Mr. Jesup's home at Bar Harbor in 1895. On his recom- 
mendation the Trustees of the Slater Fund commissioned 
two Northern women of high ability and social standing to 
visit the Southern field and gather the information which 
led to this most useful extension of the work of the Board. 

Like all the friends of the negro race, Mr. Jesup had 
a high regard for General Armstrong. On April i, 1892, 
he writes to him enclosing a contribution for the pro- 
posed endowment at Hampton, and expressing his sin- 
cere sympathy with him in his "recent mishap and con- 
tinued ill health. I know how irksome it must be to you, 
with your energy and love of activity," he goes on, "to 
be compelled by sickness to be idle and to be restrained 
thereby from taking your usual active interest in all 
matters pertaining to Hampton, an object so dear to 
your heart, and to which for so long a time you have given 
so much thought and all .your energies. I hope, however, 
you will soon be restored to health again and be able 
to resume your old place at the head of the institution." 

This hope was not destined to be fulfilled. When, 
four years later, the Slater-Armstrong Trade School was 


opened at Hampton, General Armstrong had been called 
to higher service. His work, like that of Mr. Slater, was 
left for other hands to carry on. Mr. Jesup's tribute to 
the two friends with whom he had so long been associated 
in the cause of negro education deserves to be given in full. 

Ladies and Gentlemen, and Students of the Hamp- 
ton Institute: 

On my mind at this moment are photographed the 
faces of two of the greatest friends the negro race has 
ever had — the faces of General Samuel Chapman Arm- 
strong and Mr. John F. Slater. Well do I remember 
General Armstrong, that magnificent man, so full of fire 
and energy, enthusiasm and magnetism, that it was 
impossible to come into his presence without being im- 
pressed by his nobility and greatness. Well do I remem- 
ber the noble form of John F. Slater, who had the in- 
terest of the negro so deeply rooted in his heart and mind 
— how he came to my office and told me he was willing 
to give a million dollars in order that the negro race 
might be uplifted into Christian civilization and man- 
hood. So, with the memories of these two great men in my 
mind, is it wonderful that I feel interested in your people ? 

I have known this race and its history for forty years; 
its condition before the war and up to this hour in all 
the vicissitudes of its changeful life. I now feel that I can 
see its hoped-for goal. The opening of these trade-schools 
puts the top stone on the foundation for its uplifting. 

To me there have been many sides to the question of 
the uplifting of the negro. It is a question of sentiment, 
a question of education, and a question of industrial train- 
ing. These three factors were combined in the mind and 
carried out by the effort of General Armstrong, in this 
magnificent institution, where we see love and sentiment 
on the one side, education on another side, and work and 
the dignity of labor on the third side. 


I wish I could impress all the men and women before 
me with my sense of the dignity of honest labor. It is 
the most dignified of all possible occupations. Men and 
women come here to work for the ennobling of body and 
mind. When I was in Richmond yesterday I saw one 
set of negroes lying around on the street corners with 
nothing to do. I pitied them. But then, I saw a row of 
houses going up, and another set of negroes were rearing 
the walls. There was a contrast! I said to myself, 
work is from God. Get every negro to feel the ^ dignity 
of honest toil. Not only is this good for the negro but 
for the white race. If I could only see throughout this 
country the feeling that the dignity of life consists in hon- 
est toil of hand, labor of mind, and upward looking, I 
should feel that its prosperity was sure.^ 

Mr. Jesup's interest in the educational problem of the 
South was not confined to the black race. He sympa- 
thized with the movement inaugurated by Mr. Ogden 
and other friends of education in the South, which led to 
the conference on Southern education which has been 
productive of such beneficent results. On the occasion of 
the calling of the first conference at Capon Springs, Mr. 
Jesup proposed to his fellow-trustees of the Slater Trust 
the following resolution: 

** Resolved, that we regard with great favor the pro- 
posed action having for its object the stimulation of edu- 
cation among the whites and blacks of the South, the 
promotion of common schools, and the work connected 
therewith, that it has our united and most hearty ap- 
proval, and that this Board, both as trustees and in- 

* "Nothing irritated him more," said a friend who had travelled with him 
in the South, "than the sight of a lazy, oratorical negro, and nothing pleased 
him more or made him laugh more heartily than the gambols and pranks of 
the pickaninnies." 


dividuals, will give to this new movement all the support 
and co-operation possible." 

On October i, 1902, on the motion of President Gil- 
man, Mr. Jesup was chosen a trustee of the Peabody 
Education Fund to fill the vacancy caused by the death 
of Mr. Evarts. Unlike the Slater Board, which dealt 
with negro education, the Peabody Fund was unham- 
pered by race restrictions. Mr. Jesup's surviving col- 
leagues still remember the interest which he brought 
to this new work during the few years in which it was his 
privilege to take part in it, and the fidelity with which he 
served on the various commi^ttees of which he was made 
a member.* 

It was only natural, then, that when Mr. John D. Rock- 
efeller made his great gift to education, which resulted 
in the formation of the General Education Board, Mr. 
Jesup should have been one of those to whom he turned 
for aid in the execution of his trust. The preliminary 
meeting which resulted in the formation of the Board 
was held in his library. He was one of the original mem- 
bers, not only participating in its organization, but be- 
coming a member of the Finance Committee, in which 
capacity he rendered services of great value. Up to the 
time of his last illness he was an active participant in 
the affairs of the Board and a regular attendant upon 
its meetings. 

^ In 1903 Mr. Jesup was made a member of the Finance Committee of the 
Peabody Education Fund. In January, 1905, he was one of a special committee 
to report to the Board in regard to the further distribution of the Fund. Fi- 
nally, in October, 1905, he served as one of a special committee of three, who 
received authority from the Board to carry out a certain policy which had been 
determined upon by them and, to this end, to "select such agent or agents" 
as may be necessary "and to compensate him or them for services rendered, the 
work to be carried on under the co-operation of the general agent." 


I have described Mr. Jesup's services in the cause of 
Southern education thus fully because they illustrate so 
well the qualities which he showed in all his charitable 
activity. While he gave widely he was not an indiscrimi- 
nate giver. He had regard to the ultimate effect of the 
gift rather than to its immediate consequences, and he 
spared no effort in informing himself either of the con- 
ditions to be met or of the most effective way of meeting 
them. We have seen that when he became treasurer of 
the Slater Fund he made a long tour through the Southern 
States in order to familiarize himself with the conditions, 
and he frequently repeated the investigation in later years, 
though on a less extended scale. When he made up his 
mind as to the best policy to be pursued he followed it 
consistently, and strong evidence was needed to induce 
him to modify his opinion. Above all, he was unweary- 
ing in his devotion to whatever he undertook. He never 
abandoned an old cause for a new. If, as occasionally 
happened, he resigned from some office which he had 
held, it was not to secure added leisure for himself, but 
that he might be free to give more time to similar work 
elsewhere, and, above all, because he had assured him- 
self that the cause would suffer no loss. In his charitable 
arithmetic the additions which he was constantly making 
were seldom balanced by corresponding subtractions. 

Nor was it only in connection with the larger enter- 
prises in which he was engaged that he showed this con- 
scientious devotion. Each new claimant upon his sym- 
pathy received a ready hearing and might be sure that 
his story would receive a thorough investigation. "I never 
knew a man more easily approached," said one who knew 
Mr. Jesup well, "or more readily interested in any sub- 


ject properly presented to him. But, however interested, 
he always asked time for consideration before giving a 
definite answer. The one phrase which I remember as 
more frequently upon his Hps than any other was, *I 
must think it over carefully.' " 

Another friend recalls a visit which she paid with 
Mr. Jesup to a hospital to which he had been asked to 
contribute only a year or two before his death. Though 
far from well at the time, he drove to a distant quarter 
of the city, interviewed the superintendent and nurses, 
and did not leave until he had traversed the entire build- 
ing from garret to cellar in order to assure himself that 
the conditions were in all respects what they had been 
reported to him to be. 

On the rare occasions when his sympathy overmas- 
tered him and he yielded to his charitable impulse to 
give money on the spot, he took steps to protect himself 
and others from the consequences of a possible indiscre- 
tion, having his stenographer take careful notes of the ap- 
plicant's story, which could be used for future reference in 
case later experience should prove his judgment mistaken. 

Mr. Jesup's strong conviction that the wise adminis- 
tration of charity needed the constant check of personal 
knowledge and sympathy made him distrust the wisdom 
of large endowments for growing institutions. In his 
opinion the function of an endowment was to supple- 
ment the gifts of living men, not to render them unneces- 
sary. His view of the subject appears in the following 
extract from a letter to Mr. Wanamaker, who had writ- 
ten him in the hope of securing his aid on behalf of a 
proposed endowment for a certain institution in which 
they were both interested: 


"Since I saw you I have had a talk with . I see 

no way to accomplish anything toward the endowment 

fund but for a few of Mr. 's old friends to start 

off with subscriptions. I told I was not so sure 

of the wisdom of securing an endowment beyond what 
was sufficient to supplement yearly gifts. I believe in 
personal continued requests for gifts, thereby keeping 
the great world in sympathy with the works of love and 
benevolence. I never yet knew a completely endowed 
institution or church amount to much in effective work. 
Charity needs a constant living stream running every 

When Mr. Jesup himself contributed to the perma- 
nent funds of any institution he was careful to specify 
in detail the uses to which he wished his contribution to 
be put. He had been so long in the habit of making 
his own investigations and coming to his own decisions 
that it was not easy for him to trust the discretion of 
others, and he took exceptional pains before committing 
his gift to the fortunes of the unknown future, to see 
that every precaution had been taken to prevent its being 
diverted from the purpose he intended it to serve. 

Holding these views, it is not strange that Mr. Jesup 
should have looked with disfavor upon the effort made by 
the State Board of Charities in 1896 to secure legislation 
subjecting all the private charities of New York to their 
authority. The movement, which was animated by the 
best of motives and designed to remedy real abuses, was 
ill-advised because of its failure to discriminate between 
the different kinds of charities involved. It was vehe- 
mently opposed by a number of gentlemen interested 
in charitable affairs, and, under the leadership of Mr. 


Elbrldge T. Gerry, alternative legislation was proposed 
which would in effect have exempted private charities 
altogether from State supervision. Mr. Jesup, who was 
indignant at what he believed an unwarrantable attempt 
to interfere with the private initiative which he rated so 
highly, was active in this movement. In company with 
Mr. Morgan, Mr. Schiff, and others he prepared a letter 
to Governor Roosevelt strongly urging his support of the 
bill they had prepared, and an active correspondence 
followed which continued for some weeks, in the course 
of which the whole subject was carefully canvassed from 
every point of view. As a result of this discussion, Mr. 
Jesup was led to modify his views and to consent to such 
revision of the proposed draught as would provide for a 
reasonable amount of State supervision. Unfortunately, 
others who were active in the movement were not so open 
to conviction, and, as a result of their opposition, the 
compromise plan was ultimately defeated and the State 
legislation on the subject of charities left, as it remains 
to-day, in an unsatisfactory condition. 

Speaking of Mr. Jesup's charities, one who often had 
occasion to approach him with requests for help said: 
"I must confess that I never saw a hand held out more 
cordially and with a sunnier smile in giving than Mr. 
Jesup's." This generous spirit was not won without 
self-discipline. To a friend with whom he was speak- 
ing about the deeper things of life he once said: "It 
costs people a good deal of effort to give away money, 
so that self-conquest cannot begin too early." His own 
experience in the manner of giving he summed up in the 
following words: ''Regarding Mr. Grosvenor's advice 
to begin early and give away my money, I will say that I 


have followed it, and that giving has become a fixed 
habit of my life. I have tried always to give with under- 
standing and a fair mind, not as a mechanical matter, 
but with sympathy, honesty of purpose, and with my 
gift, as far as possible, myself. Giving wisely and with 
the heart is a God-blessed gift, bringing with it always 
a return of joy and peace. I want to say here for the 
benefit of others, not that they should adopt the principle 
in a selfish way, that giving does not impoverish but 
rather adds to one's store. Each year I have found that 
my property has increased in value and in quantity, 
notwithstanding the fact that oftentimes my giving has 
been much larger than my income, after deducting family 
and personal expenses. If men of property could only 
realize the return not only of joy and peace, but of love 
and blessing that the giving of one's means bestows, 
I feel sure that the world would find itself bettered and 
ennobled by the lives of many who now seem to live 
only to add to life's troubles and sorrows. Giving should 
be a habit with all Christian men and women, as much 
as praying or eating. With the habit thus formed life 
can be made happy, dignified, and joyous." 



"/^IVING should be a habit with all Christian men 
^-^ and women as much as praying or eating." 
In these words Mr. Jesup gives us an insight into the 
secret spring of his activity. He was too good a Prot- 
estant to draw any hard and fast line between the re- 
ligious and the secular, and would have regarded his 
work for clean streets or good schools as quite as Chris- 
tian as his contribution to home or foreign missions. 
Nevertheless, the distinction between the broader philan- 
thropies, in which men of all creeds and of none can 
unite, and the special enterprises carried on by the Chris- 
tian church and under her control, is a useful one, and 
we shall find it convenient to follow it in the grouping of 
the present chapter. 

As a boy Mr. Jesup attended the Congregational 
church of Westport, of which his parents were members. 
On his mother's removal to New York the family at- 
tended the Congregational church in Fifteenth Street, 
of which Dr. Cheever was pastor, then located on the 
site formerly occupied by Tiffany's. After his marriage 
with Miss De Witt Mr. Jesup attended the Marble 



Collegiate Church at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 
Twenty-ninth Street. When Dr. John Hall came to 
this country to begin his remarkable ministry, Mr. Jesup 
was one of a large group of cultivated and intelligent 
people who were attracted by his personality, and he 
and Mrs. Jesup passed by an easy transition into the 
Presbyterian Church. He remained a member of Dr. 
Hall's church for many years, worshipping first at the 
old site at Nineteenth Street and Fifth Avenue, and after- 
ward in the new and more spacious edifice on upper 
Fifth Avenue. Later he transferred his membership to 
the Brick Church, of which he became a trustee, an office 
which he continued to hold until his death. 

Mr. Jesup joined the church under Dr. Cheever's 
ministry. There is no mention in his autobiography of 
any sudden crisis in his religious life, so it seems most 
natural to suppose that, like many other boys who had 
grown up under the influence of Christian nurture, he had 
begun to live a religious life from his earliest childhood 
and that his public confession of Christ was only the open 
registry of a purpose which he had long cherished. 

All his life long Mr. Jesup was a firm believer in inr- 
stitutional religion. While heartily in sympathy with all 
philanthropic and charitable movements which had for 
their aim the betterment of society, he did not believe that 
any other organization could take the place of the church 
of Christ. He looked with concern upon the growing 
alienation of the working men from organized Christian- 
ity, and was grieved at any action on the part of those 
responsible for ecclesiastical policy which could give 
color to the reproach that the church was a class institu- 
tion. He had no sympathy with the disposition mani- 


fested by so many churches to follow the course of wealth 
and of fashion and leave the lower and less-favored sec- 
tions of tlie city to be cared for by the revival hall or 
the mission chapel. When the congregation of Dr. John 
Hall's church decided to leave their position on Nine- 
teenth Street and move to their present site on Fifth 
Avenue, Mr. Jesup was at first opposed to the plan, and 
one of his friends still remembers the energy with which, 
when the project was discussed in his hearing, he brought 
his fist down upon the table and declared that if this 
action were taken no dollar of his should ever go into 
the new building. Mr. Jesup afterward modified his 
views as to the wisdom of this particular removal, and 
many of his dollars found their way into the new building, 
but he never wavered in his adherence to the convictions 
which prompted his first opposition to the plan. The 
more needy the district, the greater he believed was 
the need of the church. When the Old First, the Mother 
Church of New York Presbyterianism, threatened by 
the changes which were rapidly altering the character 
of its environment, was obliged to appeal for help, Mr. 
Jesup subscribed to a working fund designed to maintain 
it on its present site and to adapt it to the new conditions. 
When a proposal was made to the Trustees of the Brick 
Church to sell their land and building, Mr. Jesup op- 
posed its acceptance, although the sum was very large 
and the offer a tempting one. Before the meeting of the 
Board of Trustees, which had been called to decide upon 
the answer to be given, Mr. Jesup consulted Dr. Richards, 
the Pastor of the church, as to the tone which he thought 
the answer ought to take. The latter replied that he 
thought it would be well for the Trustees to make it evi- 


dent that the property was not for sale at any price. 
Mr. Jesup answered that that was his own opinion; and 
then went on, "in that tone of suppressed excitement that 
was common with him in discussing such questions, to 
say that the people of this city must be made to under- 
stand that there were more important interests than those 
of business, and that where any piece of land was really 
needed for these higher interests of morality and religion, 
it was out of the question that it should be surrendered 
for any financial consideration." 

Mr. Jesup's views of the function of the church in the 
life of the city found forceful expression in an address 
which he delivered at the Old First Presbyterian Church, 
on December 3, 1904, the decennial anniversary of the 
pastorate of Dr. Howard Duffield. His subject was the 
importance of the downtown church. After calling at- 
tention to the fact that the character of New York had 
changed but little from below Fourteenth Street to the 
north side of Washington Square, a fact which he attrib- 
uted largely to the influence of the group of churches, 
like Grace Church, the University Place Church, the 
Church of the Ascension, and the Old First, which still 
remained with their beautiful architecture and dignified 
appearance to give tone to the neighborhood, he went 
on as follows: "We hear a great deal about the wicked- 
ness of the East Side. Do you suppose, my friends, that 
that wickedness would be what it is to-day if the churches 
which once stood on Grand Street and Broome Street 
and East Broadway and Henry Street and all those streets 
still remained as beacon lights of the gospel of Christ.? 
No, it is the removal of the downtown church that has 
brought about in great measure the difficulties from which 
the city now suffers." He called attention to the fact that 


whereas in the last thirty years the population of New- 
York below Fourteenth Street had increased from five 
hundred thousand to six hundred and fifty thousand, in 
the same period of time there had been removed from 
the lower part of the city over fifty churches and missions, 
while no new ones had taken their places. He expressed 
the hope that the group of churches to which he had al- 
ready referred would continue to resist the pressure upon 
them and would remain as long as the city lasted to carry 
on their beneficent work upon their present sites. He 
recognized that this could only be possible through an 
endowment, and thus expressed his views of the relation 
of the endowed church to the population among whom 
it was working. "How are these churches to be sus- 
tained .? If the wealth goes away what is to take its 
place ? Character is still here, the people are still here, 
but they have not the means. What is to be done .? Of 
course the churches must be endowed, but we do not 
wish them endowed in such a way as to pauperize the 
people. There is nothing like giving from the living 
hand. I feel that giving is as important a part of a church 
service as reading the Scriptures, or preaching, or sing- 
ing, and I am glad to see that throughout this city there 
is more decorum and more sacrament in giving than 
ever before. But, while the people who live here give of 
their means, they cannot give enough to support a church 
like this. It must have an endowment sufficient to assure 
an adequate income to send out from this centre the in- 
fluence of consecrated men and consecrated women, 
unselfishly carrying to the homes and the hearts of the 
people the blessing of Jesus' love." 

The conviction that the poor as well as the rich needed 
the best that the church had to give determined Mr. 



Jesup's policy as President of the City Mission and Tract 
Society, and found substantial expression in his gift to 
the Society of the De Witt Memorial Church. 

Mr. Jesup became interested in the New York City 
Mission through his father-in-law, Dr. De Witt, who at 
the time of Mr. Jesup's marriage was its president. The 
history of the Society goes back more than eighty years. 
On the 19th of February, 1827, ^ g^^^P ^^ laymen formed 
an organization known as the New York City Tract Society 
for the purpose of distributing religious literature through 
the tenements of the city, then the scene of destitution 
and wretchedness greater than anything we know to-day. 
The Society was the offshoot of the American Tract 
Society, which had been founded two years before, and 
had for its first purpose simply the distribution of tracts. 
Little by little the work of the Society broadened. Prayer- 
meetings were held from room to room, space being 
secured in some cases by taking down the intervening 
partition wall. When volunteer service proved ineffective, 
lay missionaries were employed who gave their whole 
time to the work, and they, in turn, were succeeded, as 
conversions began to multiply, by ordained evangelists. 
In 1866 the work was put under the charge of a paid 
superintendent, and mission halls secured, where regular 
services were held. Two years later the Second Street 
Presbyterian Church turned over to the Society its ceme- 
tery between First and Second Avenues, and upon this 
site, over the undisturbed graves. Olivet, the first of the 
City Mission churches, was opened.* In 1870 it was 
decided to administer the sacraments to the congrega- 

^ When, later, the church was rebuilt, the graves were removed. It is a sig- 
nificant fact that when the removal took place, no claimant was found for any 
of the bodies. 


tions which the missionaries were beginning to assemble, 
and to organize them into churches on an undenomina- 
tional basis. This policy led to the withdrawal of the 
Baptists and the Episcopalians, who had hitherto sup- 
ported the work, and the date of this withdrawal, 1870, 
may be taken as marking the dividing line between the 
earlier history of the Society, when it was chiefly an 
organization for distributing tracts, and the later period 
with which Mr. Jesup was particularly identified, and 
which is characterized by the effort to provide well- 
appointed church homes for self-respecting congrega- 
tions living in the more destitute portions of the city. 

Mr. Jesup's connection with the Society began in 1865 
when he became a trustee. The next year he was chosen 
treasurer. In 1876 he was elected vice-president, and in 
1 88 1, on the death of Mr. A. R. Wetmore, he became 
president. He served for twenty-two years, resigning in 
1903, when he was succeeded by Dr. Schauffler, its super- 
intendent since 1887, whom he had introduced to the work 
and with whom he had been intimately associated in it 
ever since. 

I owe to Mr. Elsing, for many years the pastor of 
the De Witt Memorial Church, the following informa- 
tion as to Mr. Jesup's connection with this phase of the 
work. For many years he had been interested in the 
work of Lebanon Chapel in Columbia Street, then under 
the care of the New York City Mission, and had given 
freely to it of his time, money, and strength. The 
neighborhood was thickly settled and the chapel soon 
proved too small for the growing needs of the work. But 
the growth of the population did not involve a corre- 
sponding increase in financial strength. As the small 


houses which used to line the streets were torn down 
large six-story tenements took their place, and the popu- 
lation, while increasing in numbers, altered in character. 
The situation was one with which New Yorkers are only 
too familiar and the problem one which had not yet been 
solved in an effective way. 

Mr. Jesup recognized the strategic importance of the 
locality. He realized that in a few years nearly all the 
remaining churches would be compelled to leave the 
lower portion of Manhattan, and he determined that in 
this one case the usual order should be reversed, and that 
instead of the church giving place to the chapel, the chapel 
should be replaced by the church. 

He accordingly commissioned Dr. James Marshall, then 
pastor of the Lebanon Chapel, to find a suitable site 
for the new church which he proposed to erect. After a 
careful search a row of two-story houses was found on 
Rivington Street, between Columbia and Cannon Streets, 
which, being too small to be profitable to the landlords, 
Mr. Jesup secured at a reasonable price. Plans for the 
new building were prepared by Mr. Cleveland Cady, 
which embodied the result of a careful study of every 
well-appointed chapel and working church in and near 
New York. The work of construction was pushed rapidly 
forward, and in May, 1881, the new church was dedi- 
cated with appropriate ceremonies and received the name 
De Witt Memorial, in honor of Dr. Thomas De Witt, 
Mr. Jesup's father-in-law, the former president of the City 
Mission Society. 

The new church was in striking contrast to the poorly 
ventilated dingy chapel in Columbia Street. One of its 
noticeable features was the separation of the church 


proper from the Sunday-school room. Mr. Jesup, who 
had a strong sense of reverence, believed that the church 
auditorium should be used exclusively for worship, and 
for this reason had provided a special audience-room, 
which could not only accommodate the Sunday-school, 
but the various lectures, entertainments, and social gath- 
erings which are necessary in any effective church for 
the working people. In the centre of the Sunday-school 
room was a fountain adorned with aquatic plants and 
goldfish, which had a wonderful fascination for the 
children. In the same room there was a large fireplace 
where a generous fire was always burning during the 
winter sessions of the school. The church was further 
provided with an attractive parlor, an infant-class- and 
Bible class-rooms, and a series of sliding doors between 
the Sunday-school and the church auditorium made pro- 
vision for the accommodation of a large congregation on 
exceptional occasions.^ 

Mr. Jesup was not only interested in building the 
church; he took pains to see that it was properly manned. 
When Dr. Marshall, the first pastor, received a call to 
the presidency of a Western college, he interested himself 
in the choice of a successor. He had been favorably 
impressed with what he had heard of one of his nephew's 
classmates, W. M. Elsing by name, then a Senior in 
Princeton Theological Seminary, and invited him to spend 

^ Mr. Jesup's benefactions to De Witt did not cease with the gift of the church 
building. When Mr. Elsing became pastor he bought the property just east of 
the church and erected a parsonage there. He also built a new building in the 
rear of the church which was greatly needed for the growing work, and one of 
his last gifts was of the house at 288 Rivington Street, on the corner of Riving- 
ton and Cannon Streets, a property which brings in a good yearly rental, which 
is used to keep the church in repair and to provide for part of the running ex- 


Sunday with him in New York and look over the situa- 
tion. "I shall never forget/' writes Mr. Elsing, "the 
memorable hours spent with Mr. Jesup going through the 
crowded tenement section on the East Side. In those 
days horses were often stabled in cellars or in barns 
located in the rear of the crowded tenements. The streets 
were as full of wagons and trucks then as they are of 
push-carts now. All these things Mr. Jesup pointed out 
to me and said: *I want you to notice that all the people 
of this region are self-respecting working people, the 
very best class among which to build up a large and 
strong church.' " After careful consideration Mr. Elsing 
accepted the call, and during the twenty-five years of 
his pastorate found in Mr. Jesup **a true and loyal 
friend." The latter was a frequent attendant at the ser- 
vices, and Mr. Elsing still recalls the deep feeling with 
which he would often say, as he grasped his hand at 
parting, "I have received a rich dividend on my invest- 
ment to-day." 

The same spirit which led Mr. Jesup to interest him- 
self in the work of the downtown church made him an 
active supporter of the missionary work of the church 
both at home and abroad. Through his father he had 
been interested in the work of the American Sunday- 
school Union, an undenominational society which did 
pioneer work in the unsettled portions of the country, 
sending its missionaries into districts where the church 
had not yet penetrated and gathering the children into 
schools which, in many cases, later developed into self- 
supporting churches. Mr. Charles Jesup, as we have 
already seen, had contributed to the support of a mis- 
sionary in Virginia and was planning more generous 


gifts when his purpose was interrupted by his prema- 
ture death. The son continued his father's interest. He 
believed in the Society, as he himself said, because it 
was at once catholic and evangelical. In 1886 he be- 
came its Vice-President and ten years later, after careful 
consideration, accepted election to the presidency, a posi- 
tion which he held until his death. While his admin- 
istration was characterized by no change of policy, it is 
worthy of remark, as illustrating his interest in the more 
personal aspects of the work, that each Christmas after 
he was President witnessed the arrival, at the treasury of 
the Society, of a check for a thousand dollars to be used 
in Christmas gifts to the missionaries on the field. 

Mr. Jesup's correspondence shows that his missionary 
interest was not confined to this country. A letter from 
Dr. Hepburn, the veteran missionary to Japan, written 
in 1892, expresses gratitude for a liberal contribution to 
the building of a Presbyterian church in Yokohama, and 
encloses a long letter from the pastor and elders giving 
an account of the dedication ceremony and describing 
in detail "the excellence and beauty" of the building. 
In 1908 Dr. Arthur Brown writes to thank Mr. Jesup for 
a gift of ten thousand dollars to the Union Theological 
Seminary at Peking, China. But the cause which most 
deeply interested him, and into which he put most of 
himself, was the Syrian Protestant College at Beirut, 
of which he became a trustee in 1884, and president in 

The work of the Syrian Protestant College is so well 
known that it needs no lengthy description here. It is 
one of the institutions, like Robert College, in Constan- 
tinople, which have stamped their character upon the 


habits of a people and whose influence extends far be- 
yond the individuals whose lives it has been able to touch 
at first hand. At first begun as a denominational school 
under the American Board, it was later incorporated 
under a separate Board of Trustees and has ever since 
carried on its work as an undenominational institution. 
Thoroughly evangelical in character and in hearty sym- 
pathy with the missionary work of the Boards, it has yet 
conceived its task in the broader spirit characteristic of 
the more modern missionary movement, and extends its 
privileges without discrimination to students of all races 
and of all religions. Its medical school sends its grad- 
uates all over the Orient, and patients come from dis- 
tances as great as Cairo to be operated upon within its 
walls. Its faculty, constantly recruited by young blood 
from the United States, compares favorably in ability and 
attainments with that of the best institutions at home. 
Possessing a situation of unrivalled beauty, secured 
through the statesman-like policy of its first president. 
Dr. Bliss, with its ample campus looking out over the 
blue Mediterranean and commanding a view of snow- 
capped Lebanon in the distance, it is a spot which those 
who have once visited it will never forget. 

Mr. Jesup was one of the first subscribers to the es- 
tablishment of this college, and for more than forty years 
he was its constant supporter. His gifts grew in num- 
ber and magnitude until they culminated in the erection 
and endowment of the noble hospitals now included 
under the Maria De Witt Jesup Foundation. In Jan- 
uary, 1884, he became a trustee, and twelve years later 
was elected president, a position which he held until 
his death. 


" By the very nature of its work," writes Dr. Howard 
Bliss, the present President, "the college made a pecul- 
iarly strong appeal to Mr. Jesup. Its founders and earliest 
supporters, Messrs. W. E. Dodge, Sr., Wm. E. Dodge, 
Jr., and Rev. D. S. Dodge, D.D., were his warm and 
devoted friends. One of its foremost professors. Rev. 
George E. Post, M.D., he had known and loved from 
boyhood. He thus had confidence in those who stood 
sponsor for it, and it was characteristic of Mr. Jesup 
to lend a hand to all enterprises in which his close friends 
were interested. He learned to love *the Syrian Col- 
lege,' as he always termed it, for its own sake. It ap- 
pealed to him because it was founded for the purpose of 
extending the Kingdom of Jesus Christ in the hearts of 
young men who were destined to become leaders of their 
people. It appealed to him because the College sought 
to promote this Kingdom in connection with the advance- 
ment of learning. And it appealed to him because the 
institution, while absolutely Christian, was absolutely 

"He always spoke of it with that rich, affectionate 
turn of the voice which those who knew him always loved 
to hear. He never visited Syria. But he clearly saw that 
the College had an unmatched opportunity to train the 
leaders of the near East. And this caught his imagi- 
nation. With his own eyes he seemed to see the noble 
campus of forty acres rising from the Mediterranean 
shores in the most conspicuous and picturesque quarter 
of the city of Beirut. He seemed to know each one of 
the fourteen substantial stone buildings scattered over 
the charming grounds in far-away Syria, not because his 
money had helped to build so many of them, but because 


of his characteristic habit of seeking to know thoroughly 
the details as well as the general features of the enter- 
prises in which he was interested. He never seemed to 
tire of hearing of the progress which the College was 
making, of the success of its graduates, of their loyal 
devotion to their Alma Mater, of plans for enlargement. 
He boldly and firmly grasped the meaning of this edu- 
cational missionary enterprise in its relationship to the 
progress of the Ottoman Empire and the near East. He 
had no difficulty in seeing that you cannot gather to- 
gether eight or nine hundred young men from two hun- 
dred different cities, towns, and villages of the Empire, 
representing all the races and all the religions of the 
near East and subject them to the intellectual, social, 
and religious influence of sixty professors and instructors 
for a period of one year, five years, ten years, without 
profoundly affecting their inward lives, however few 
announce a change in their sectarian designations. For 
sectarian designations, indeed, whether in Asia or in 
America, Mr. Jesup cared very little. He was much 
more deeply concerned with the progress of the great 
Church of the Living God than with the prosperity of 
individual churches. Mr. Jesup was especially interested 
in the record which the graduates of the College are 
making as enlightening and uplifting forces in the com- 
munities and districts in which they are working as 
physicians, teachers, preachers, lawyers, journalists, or 
business men. So fully acquainted was he himself with 
the history and the achievements of this Syrian College 
and similar missionary institutions that he blazed with 
indignation when, through ignorance or superficiality, 
men spoke lightly of their influence. 


'* *It seems strange to me,' he wrote just a month before 
his death, 'that when people speak of great institutions 
Hke the Syrian Protestant College, they do not have the 
highest place in their estimation/ 

"Mr. Jesup did not believe that it was the function 
of a college president to raise money for the support 
of the college. He considered that this work was the 
business of the trustees, and I well remember how full 
of indignation he was when some one, in speaking of the 
merits of a candidate for the presidency of a prominent 
New England college, asked Mr. Jesup's opinion as to 

the capacity of the Rev. Dr. as a money-getter. Mr. 

Jesup regarded the question almost as an insult. His 
reply, curt and wrathful, was to the effect that the only 
true standard by which to judge the fitness of a college 
president was his capacity to inspire his Faculty and his 
students with high intellectual and spiritual ideals. 

"While Mr. Jesup was always interested in the growth 
and development of the College as a whole, it was the 
medical branch of the work to which he gave his especial 
care. With characteristic vigor and sagacity he devoted 
himself to the extension of the clinical facilities of this 
department. It was doubtless his warm admiration of 
Dr. George E. Post, Professor of Surgery, that especially 
stimulated his interest in this direction. In honor of his 
wife he named his generous gift *The Maria De Witt 
Jesup Foundation.' Upon an admirable site two beau- 
tiful buildings have been erected — a Woman's Pavilion, 
and a Children's Pavilion. Provision has been made for 
the Training School for Nurses. A Gate House and a 
Mortuary have also been built and an Endowment 
Fund has been created. The blessings which flow from 


this noble gift to students and to patients are inc^lQU^ 
lable/'^ .. . \i.Ji \>l\ 

Through his connection with the Syrian College Mr. 
Jesup was led to interest himself in the wider questions 
raised by the presence of our missionaries in the East. 
In common with many other American citizens he was 
concerned at the unjust discrimination brought against 
our missionaries by the Porte and sought repeatedly to 
influence the Government at Washington to a more ag- 
gressive attitude. 

During Mr. Cleveland's administration he was one 
of five gentlemen who, under date of March 9, 1895, 
addressed a letter to the President, asking for the ap- 
pointment of Mr. Oscar S. Straus as a special commis- 
sioner to secure the ratification of the treaty of naturali- 
zation prepared by the latter when American Minister 
at the Porte, but never ratified. Acting on behalf of a 
representative committee, including all the more impor- 
tant American missionary bodies carrying on work in 

* On the day after Mr. Jesup's death one of the great New York dailies con- 
tained the following summary of Mr. Jesup's activity in connection with the 
Syrian Protestant College. The editorial was entitled "Mr. Jesup in Syria," 
and is worthy of a permanent place in any estimate of his career. 

"Nowhere will Morris K. Jesup be more sincerely mourned than on the ex- 
treme eastern shore of the Mediterranean, under the side of Mount Lebanon, 
where one of the most interesting institutions in the world owes much of its re- 
markable development to his energetic financial administration and constant 
fostering care. We refer to the great modern English-speaking university at 
Beirut, formally styled the Syrian Protestant College. 

"This school of civilization surprises every new beholder. Having previously 
entertained perhaps some vague idea of a college, in which a handful of native 
youth sit at the feet of the local missionary, and subject themselves with more 
or less of cynical interest to pious efforts at sectarian proselytism, with incidental 
secular instruction, the visitor discovers, generally to his immense astonishment, 
what the Beirut institution really is. He finds a thoroughly organized and per- 
fectly crystallized university with a faculty of eighty or more accomplished and 
eminent men, and nearly a thousand students from all parts of the Turkish Em- 
pire, from the Greek Islands, from Egypt, from the Soudan, from Persia, from 


Turkey, he presented to the President a petition asking 
the.Governrtifent to take the necessary steps "to secure for 
the American missions and institutions in Turkey the 
prompt and full confirmation of their pre-existing rights 
and a settlement similar to that accorded to missions and 
institutions belonging to French, Russian, German, and 
Italian subjects." 

In presenting this petition Mr. Jesup accompanied it 
with the following words: 

Mr. President: 

We do not ask any special favors. We ask that our 
Minister at Constantinople be instructed to see the Sul- 
tan of Turkey in person and ask that the privileges we 
desire for the prosecution of our educational and relig- 
ious work in Turkey be granted to us, as has been done 
to France, Germany, and other European countries and 
as has been agreed to under the treaties already existing 
between the United States and the Ottoman Porte. While 
our country is making such rapid and wonderful progress 
in all that pertains to industry, trade, and commerce, is it 

India, from the very heart of Arabia, pursuing both academic and professional 
studies under physical and intellectual conditions precisely similar to those 
obtaining in any American college of equivalent importance. Planted promi- 
nently on a modern New-England-like campus, overlooking the sea, are the 
extensive stone dormitories, the chapel, the library, the laboratories, the muse- 
ums of natural history, of archaeology and of art, the technical schools, even 
the gymnasium and athletic field of our well-understood domestic system. In 
the dignity and completeness of its physical establishment the Syrian College 
is on a par with most of the colleges of equal dimensions here at home; its 
advantages over the American institutions are the unrivalled beauty of its site 
and the incomparably varied field of its usefulness. . . . 

"There is at Beiriat absolute control of the natural impulse to make the col- 
lege an instrument of active and direct propagandism; to attack aggressively 
the various creeds of its students and to make conversions, or seeming conform- 
ity of faith, the price of a liberal education. The 'heathen* who goes to Beirut 
does not become the object of coercive solicitation. Indeed, beyond the formal 
requirement of attendance at the chapel services, such as was long common to 
the denominational colleges of America, the student is free and respected in 
the exercise of his own religious convictions, and the moral influence operating 


strange that those Americans who are devoted to the cause 
of education and religion should be equally anxious that 
this side of the greatness of this nation should be spread 
before the eyes of the world and go hand in hand with 
commerce and trade, in extending to others the blessings 
we possess. It is not only this unselfish spirit but patriotic 
pride in country that impels us to appear before you and 
ask that the influence of this great government, so potent 
over the world at this time, should be exercised through 
you, sir, and that the Sultan should be requested to afford 
to your petitioners the privileges they now seek. 

When in 1900 the Ecumenical Conference of Foreign 
Missions met in New York City, Mr. Jesup, who was one 
of the Honorary Vice-Presidents and an active member 
of the Committee on Arrangements, was chosen to call 
the meeting to order and to introduce President Mc- 
Kinley, who had come from Washington at the invita- 
tion of the Committee to extend the official welcome of 
the Conference to the delegates. His words of intro- 

on him is a thing of atmosphere, of which he is scarcely conscious. The result 
is that the strictest of Wahabite Mussulmans from Nejd, the most orthodox of 
Jews, the fastidious Hindu, the usually intolerant Christian of the Oriental 
churches, the Maronite, the Druse, the Sunnite and the Shiite, are found to- 
gether in the college library, helping each other in the use of reference books, 
or on the foot-ball field amicably and even fraternally commingled in the fiercest 
of rushes, precisely as is the case with the more homogeneous population of 
Amherst or Princeton or Dartmouth. 

"Where else on earth can this condition be found to a similar extent, or mani- 
fested in so striking a fashion ? How can you exaggerate its interest as a fact, 
or overestimate its significance as a factor in the making of the future history 
of the near East ? 

" Thus it happens that at the uttermost end of every camel track leading across 
the Syrian desert from regions inhabited by the graduates or students of the 
Beirut College, Mr. Jesup's name has come to be as well known and loved, 
and the features of his face as familiar, as they are in Central Park West. The 
Syrian Protestant College, which he helped so much to create and sustain, 
is a part of the lasting monument to his manifold activities. We have dwelt 
upon it particularly because it is perhaps less well known to The Sun's readers 
than some of Mr. Jesup's other great services to humanity and the humanities." 


duction are worthy of record here, not only as illustrating 
his felicitous method of address, but also as showing 
how important was the place which he assigned to foreign 
missions in the world's work. 

This great assemblage comes together this evening for 
the purpose of extending a hearty personal welcome to 
the members of the Ecumenical Council, whose delegates 
coming from every part of the habitable globe meet for 
the first time upon this American Continent, and in this 
city, its chief centre, to report the progress made in 
missionary enterprise, and to devise measures by which 
the blessings of Christianity may be diffused more widely 
throughout the world at large. It is convened at the close 
of a century, wherein commerce has replaced conquest 
as the pioneer of civilization, and in which the modes of 
communication by steam and electricity have reached 
the uttermost parts of the earth, whereby men and na- 
tions have been brought into such new and close relations 
with each other, that the brotherhood of man is no longer 
an ideal conception, but is becoming day by day more 
and more a cheering reality. The interest of our people 
in this great and encouraging work has been immeasura- 
bly strengthened by recent events, which have imposed 
upon us larger responsibilities and fill us with new hopes 
and aspirations. Although the "rude alarms" of war 
have not ceased with the century, the great nations of the 
world have by the conclusions of The Hague Conference 
pledged themselves to arbitration as the best means 
of preserving peace. Thus the outlook for that comity 
and co-operation, to which the missionary efforts of all 
the churches stand committed, was never so promising 
as it is to-day. The Government of the United States I 
believe to be in hearty sympathy with every movement 
which looks to the establishment and maintenance of 
"peace and good will on earth" proclaimed at the advent 
of our divine Master nineteen hundred years ago. Hence 



the President of the United States, sympathizing as he 
does with every movement which looks to the amehora- 
tion of mankind, has for a day left the exacting duties 
of his high office, and is here to-night to utter the words 
of welcome which come from him with more grace and 
force than from the lips of any living man. Thanking the 
committee for having placed me in a position where I 
enjoy this high privilege, I beg leave to present to you 
the President of the United States. 

Mr. Jesup's interest in the missionary work of the 
church at home and abroad brought forcibly to his at- 
tention the need of an adequate and well-trained ministry, 
and led to his connection with the last of the institutions 
to which we shall have occasion to refer in this chapter, 
the Union Theological Seminary, of which he became 
a director in 1883. 

The Union Theological Seminary was founded in 
1837 by a little group of Presbyterians, clergymen and 
laymen, who believed that there was room and need 
in a great city, such as New York then gave promise of 
becoming, of a school for the training of Christian min- 
isters, and that such training could more efficiently be 
secured in an institution independent of ecclesiastical 
control. Members of the New School body, they were 
out of sympathy with the spirit of rigid orthodoxy, 
which had manifested itself in the trial of Albert Barnes 
for heresy in 1836, and which led to the disruption of 
the church in the following year. Their interest was 
practical, and their spirit catholic, and they were ready 
to work with any Christian, whatever his creed, who was 
ready to work with them. While themselves members 
in good and regular standing in the Presbyterian Church, 


the charter which they secured from the Legislature in 
1837 provides "that equal privileges of admission and 
instruction with all the advantages of the institution shall 
be allowed to students of every denomination of Chris- 
tians," and the records of the Seminary show that from 
the first it numbered among its student body not only 
Presbyterians but representatives of all the leading 
evangelical denominations. 

Among his fellow directors at the time when Mr. Jesup 
became a member of the Board were a number of his 
personal friends, such as Mr. D. Willis James, Mr. 
William E. Dodge, Jr.,^ and Mr. John Crosby Brown, 
laymen who, like himself, had been trained to respect 
the Christian church and who believed in the importance 
of making the best possible provision for the education 
of its ministry. Mr. Jesup shared their exalted opinion 
of the qualifications needed by the Christian minister. 
He believed that the best education was none too good for 
the future leaders of the church. He knew the value 
of culture for efficiency. Above all, he believed in the 
principles which had determined the founders in locating 
the institution in the midst of a great city, where its 
graduates would have opportunity to come into daily 
contact with the practical problems presented by human 
misery in its most acute form. 

In the controversy which broke out in the church over 
Dr. Briggs's famous Inaugural, which led to the veto of 
his appointment as Edward Robinson Professor by the 
General Assembly and his subsequent trial and condem- 
nation for heresy, Mr. Jesup stood loyally by the Semi- 

* Mr. Dodge joined the Board in the same year as Mr, Jesup, as did also 
Dr. Charles Cuthbert Hall, afterward President of the Seminary. 


nary In its support of the accused professor. To him 
the question cut deeper than mere theological opinion. 
It was a question of religious liberty, of the fundamental 
right of earnest men to seek for truth in their own way, 
and to express with perfect frankness the results which 
they believed themselves to have attained. As a repre- 
sentative of this fundamental Protestant principle Dr. 
Brlggs had his hearty support, and the same is true of 
Dr. McGifFert in the later controversy which arose in 
connection with the publication of his "Apostolic Age." 
Mr. Jesup approved the policy of the Board in resuming 
the complete independence which with mistaken gener- 
osity it had surrendered in its compact with the General 
Assembly of 1870.* And when, on November 15, 1904, 
after careful and long-continued deliberation, the Sem- 
inary abolished subscription to the Westminster Confes- 
sion as a requirement for its professors and directors, 
Mr. Jesup was one of those who voted in the affirmative. 
During the quarter century of his connection with the 
Board Mr. Jesup rendered Union Seminary many valu- 

^ In 1870 the Old and New School branches of the Presbyterian Church united, 
after a separation of thirty-three years. Under the impulse of fraternity in- 
spired by the occasion, the board of directors of the Union Seminary, in spite 
of the protests of some of their members, determined to surrender the inde- 
pendence which they had hitherto enjoyed so far as to grant to the General 
Assembly of the newly organized church the right of veto in the case of their 
appointments of professors. It was this provision which was made the excuse 
by the Saratoga Assembly for its action in the case of Dr. Briggs. The point 
at issue was a technical one, turning on the difference between an original 
appointment and a transfer. On the occasion of Dr. Briggs's first appointment 
as Davenport Professor of Hebrew the Assembly had offered no objection. 
During the years which followed, however, his advocacy of the principles of 
the higher criticism had caused him to be looked upon with increasing disfavor 
by conservative Presbyterians, and when the Directors, at his own request, 
transferred him to the new Chair of Biblical Theology, which had been founded 
by Mr. Charles Butler, the President of the Board, his opponents were quick to 
take advantage of the opportunity thus afforded to enter their protest. 


able services. He was a member of the Finance Com- 
mittee from 1883, where his advice on matters of invest- 
ment was most useful. In 1907 he succeeded his friend, 
Mr. D. Willis James, as Vice-President, a position which 
he held till his own death in the following year. He was 
a liberal contributor to the funds of the Seminary, and 
the spacious recitation hall at 700 Park Avenue, which 
bore his name, was his gift. 

Mr. Jesup followed with special interest and approval 
the work of the Union Settlement, founded in 1895 by a 
group of Union Seminary alumni, as an expression of 
the Seminary's interest in social problems, and as a 
training school for its students in practical work. In 
1900 he purchased five houses on East 104th Street, 
remodelled them into a commodious home for the Settle- 
ment, and presented them to the Board of Trustees of 
the Seminary to be held in trust for the Settlement for 
the purposes of their work. 

But his most original contribution to the Seminary's 
work was his foundation in 1905 of the Jesup Graduate 
Chair of Preaching. The foundation had its origin in 
Mr. Jesup's desire to spread abroad through the country 
at large his own exalted idea of the functions and oppor- 
tunity of the Christian ministry. He had been deeply 
concerned by the decline of interest in the ministerial call- 
ing on the part of many Christian parents, and teachers 
in our colleges. He felt that unless this tendency was 
checked the prestige of the Christian ministry must suffer 
serious hurt, and its influence be proportionately dimin- 
ished. He believed that a propaganda was necessary in 
order to bring again to the attention of the people the 
inspiring ideals of the Christian ministry, as it appears 


to modern men who realize its possibilities, and it seemed 
to him that Union Seminary was peculiarly fitted to 
undertake such a propaganda, if the proper man could be 
found and the proper conditions established. 

The result of this conviction was a proposal to the 
Board of Directors, which led to the establishment of 
the Jesup Graduate Chair of Preaching, and the call 
to this country as its first incumbent of the Reverend 
Hugh Black, formerly minister of Free St. George's in 

On being informed of the acceptance of his proposal 
by the Board of Directors Mr. Jesup addressed to them 
the following letter: 

New York, April 22nd , 1905. 
My Dear Dr. Hall: 

I think proper at this time to make a distinct state- 
ment of some of the reasons that have governed my mind 
in connection with this gift, in order that it may be fully 
understood by the Board. 

I feel that the time has come when something must 
and should be done in the name of the Seminary to in- 
crease the number of young men of the highest charac- 
ter and ability coming from the most substantial Christian 
families of our land, to dedicate themselves to the minis- 
try of Christ. 

I am in sympathy with the present scholarly aims 
of the Seminary. If wisely pursued, I think they must 
lead the students to honor Holy Scripture as true and 
inspired. But, in addition to our scholarly work, we 
need to do, and must do, more on the practical and 
evangelical side. 

I want to see the Seminary increase its teaching force 
by adding thereto a man of power, of profound acquaint- 
ance with the word of God; of fervent, spiritual life, and 


of unusual gifts in the interpretation of Scripture for 
evangelistic and popular purposes, and, if possible, of uni- 
versity culture. I have mentioned to you the names of 
certain men to illustrate in some measure a type of my 
ideal of the man required. We should be prepared to call 
such a man, could he be found, to a full professorship. 
We should ask him to divide the year between teaching 
work in the Seminary and general preaching in the coun- 
try at large. In the Seminary he should give such courses 
as may be determined upon, which shall inspire young 
men with enthusiasm for preaching the Gospel of Jesus 
Christ with simplicity, and in a manner calculated to 
meet the actual needs of to-day. He should strive to 
reach young students and preachers already at their work, 
and to create higher ideals of gospel training and preach- 
ing, and faithful and efficient use of the Word of God 
without criticism, as the chosen instrument for the con- 
version of men to the truth. 

But his duties should not be confined to the Seminary. 
He should be free to occupy at least one-half of the year 
in general work in the country at large, preaching and 
giving addresses wherever he might be invited, entering 
into pulpits, colleges, and universities and inspiring the 
finest men in them with the zeal for the ministry. He 
should make it his business to come in touch with Chris- 
tian parents throughout the land, quickening their zeal 
to dedicate the choicest of their sons to the ministry of the 
gospel. ... It is with a view to making it possible for 
the Union Theological Seminary to have this added power 
that I make this endowment, it being understood that in 
their acceptance of this endowment, the Board of Direc- 
tors undertakes to carry out my purpose. . . . 

I am, 

Very truly yours, 

Morris K. Jesup. 
The Reverend President, 

Charles Cuthbert Hall, D.D. 


In 1905, with the approval of Mr. Jesup, the Board 
of Trustees offered the Reverend Hugh Black, of Free 
St. George's, Edinburgh, the position of lecturer for a 
year on the Jesup Foundation, and at the expiration of 
that term he v^as unanimously elected Jesup Graduate 
Professor, a position which he still holds. 

One of the things which most attracted Mr. Jesup to 
Union Seminary was the fact that its doors were freely 
opened to students of all denominations. He was a firm 
believer in Christian unity. The subject was one which 
was much in his thoughts and which had his support 
in increasing degree. During his own experience as a 
Christian he had been a member of three different Chris- 
tian bodies — the Congregational, the Dutch Reformed, 
and the Presbyterian — and he numbered among the lead- 
ing clergymen of other Christian bodies many personal 
friends. He rejoiced in all the influences which brought 
Christians of different communions into common asso- 
ciation. He approved of the formation of the Hospital 
Saturday and Sunday Association as a movement designed 
to give practical expression to this spirit of co-operation, 
and consented to become one of its trustees. In his 
letter accepting the presidency of the American Sunday 
School Union he assigned as one of the reasons which 
influenced him, its catholicity. When the Directors of 
Union Seminary abolished subscription to the West- 
minster Confession as a condition of the appointment of 
directors and professors he approved the action, not sim- 
ply for the relief which it afforded tender consciences, 
but because it made possible the introduction of mem- 
bers of other Christian communions into the Faculty and 
the Board. 


Among Mr. Jesup's papers I find the following letter 
from Bishop Potter, which illustrates so well the catho- 
lic spirit of Mr. Jesup as to be worthy of transcription. 
It was called forth by a generous gift which Mr. Jesup 
had made to the authorities of Grace Church in connec- 
tion with the effort which they were making to secure the 
property adjoining the church, formerly occupied by the 
Vienna Bakery, and so to preserve for all time a suitable 
environment for that noble public monument. 

No. 347 W. 89th St., 
January zSih, 1905. 
My dear Jesup: 

Dr. Huntington has told me of your noble gift toward 
enabling Grace Church to secure the Vienna Bakery 
property; and I ask the privilege of saying how fine and 
discriminating I think it. Of course, it is generous — ^you 
could not but be that — but such a gift has in it the flavor 
not only of Catholic public spirit, but of very rare discern- 
ment; and "therein," to quote the Apostle, "I do rejoice; 
yea, and will rejoice." 
Our love to Mrs. Jesup. 

Gratefully yours, 

(Signed) Henry C. Potter. 

Morris K. Jesup, Esq. 



TN 1899 Mr. Jesup was elected President of the 
Chamber of Commerce of the State of New York. 
As the official representative of the merchants of the 
chief commercial city of the Western world the Chamber 
had for years exercised an important influence upon the 
commerce and industry of the country, and its presidency 
was generally regarded as the chief honor in the gift of 
the mercantile community of New York. Founded in 
1768 at a meeting held at Fraunce's Tavern on the comer 
of Pearl and Broad Streets by a group of twenty repre- 
sentative merchants under the leadership of John Cruger, 
afterward its first president, its organization antedates 
that of the republic by nearly twenty years. Its original 
articles of incorporation, granted by George III in 1770, set 
forth that the object of the Chamber is to secure "the 
numberless inestimable benefits which have accrued to 
mankind from commerce," and express the belief that 
the enlargement of trade will vastly increase the general 
opulence of the colony. From the first, the Chamber 
became an important factor in the life of the community. 
Writing in 1856, its historian. Dr. Charles King, former 
President of Columbia College, records that "from its 



origin to the commencement of this century and to a 
more recent date, the Chamber was called upon ahke 
by the authorities of the City, of the State and of the 
nation, for its advice and opinions on questions supposed 
to be specially within its cognizance, questions of quar- 
antine, of public health and cleanliness, the laws of trade, 
of currency, the effect of inspection laws, of high and 
low duty, and of bankruptcy laws." During its later 
history it has been no less active. It was an ardent sup- 
porter of Mr. Lincoln during the strenuous days of the 
Civil War, and while the events which engaged its at- 
tention after the restoration of peace were less exciting, 
Mr. Jesup could say with truth in his speech at the dedica- 
tion of the new building in 1902 that during the last 
half century "every great question affecting commerce, 
finances, and the currency which the country has been 
called upon to face had been discussed by the Chamber," 
and that its resolutions and reports had contributed ma- 
terially to their rightful solution. To name only a few 
of the more important matters in which it has been active, 
it will be sufficient to recall the position which it has 
repeatedly taken in connection with the frequently re- 
curring financial heresies, its advocacy of important pub- 
lic works such as the Erie Canal, the Croton Water sys- 
tem, and the Rapid Transit, its efforts on behalf of the 
preservation of the natural resources of the country, and 
its leadership in the relief movements rendered necessary 
from time to time by the great calamities which have 
visited different parts of the world. 

It was, then, no slight honor which his fellow members 
paid Mr. Jesup when they asked him to assume the 
presidency of the Chamber. The office had been held in 


the past by such men as James G. King and William E. 
Dodge, and Mr. Jesup's predecessor, Mr. Alexander 
Orr, to whom the suggestion of his own nomination was 
due, had long been a leader in all enterprises making 
for the public good. 

At the time of Mr. Jesup's election to the presidency 
of the Chamber he was sixty-nine years old. Fifteen 
years had passed since he resigned from active business, 
years which, as we have seen, had been filled with public 
service of various kinds. In the Chamber he had long 
been an active figure. It was to his efforts that was due 
the energetic action taken by the Chamber in the matter 
of the preservation of the Adirondack forests. While 
never having held or sought public ofl&ce,^ he had a wide 
acquaintance with public men and exercised an impor- 
tant influence on the formation of public opinion. In 
the different movements for civic betterment which had 
taken place from time to time in New York he had been 
a powerful factor. We are already familiar with his ser- 
vices in connection with the Committee of Twenty-one, 
and the campaign for clean streets, which he inaugurated 
ten years later under Mayor Grant. When Mr. Hewitt 
made his independent campaign for Mayor in 1888 Mr. 
Jesup was one of his strongest supporters, and called the 
meeting to order which ratified his nomination. He was 
a member of the Committee of Seventy which finally 
succeeded in beating Tammany Hall and electing the 
Honorable William L. Strong Mayor. If long and faithful 
service be any measure of desert Mr. Jesup can fairly 
be said to have earned his election. 

* In November, 1887, Mr. Hewitt appointed Mr. Jesup School Commissioner, 
an appointment which he declined. 


To him, however, gratifying as the recognition must 
have been, the new position appealed rather as an oppor- 
tunity than as a reward. The duties which devolved 
upon him as President of the Chamber were of two kinds, 
corresponding to the two different functions which the 
Chamber filled in the life of the community. On the 
one hand, as its name implies, the Chamber was the 
recognized organ of the commercial interests of the State, 
and it was its duty to deal with the various questions 
which arose from time to time affecting those interests. 
On the other hand, through its annual banquet and less 
formal meetings it fulfilled an important social function in 
the life of the community and was one of the organs 
through which the more ideal aspects of the life of 
commerce found expression. 

Each aspect of his new duty appealed to Mr. Jesup, 
and to both he gave his best energies; but for the latter he 
was peculiarly fitted, both by temperament and training. 
The eight years of his administration made unusually 
heavy social demands upon the President. They wit- 
nessed the visit to this country of Prince Henry of Prussia 
and Prince Louis of Battenberg, the journey of a repre- 
sentative committee of the New York Chamber to Lon- 
don at the invitation of the London Chamber of Com- 
merce, and the return visit of the London delegation to 
New York; and finally, the formal opening with appro- 
priate ceremonies of the new building of the Chamber in 
Liberty Street, which was completed in 1902. 

Before, however, we take up these more exceptional 
features of Mr. Jesup's administration it will be proper 
to say a few words about his treatment of the routine 
duties of his office. 


The President of the Chamber Is charged ex officio 
with certain duties quite apart from his functions as pre- 
siding officer, which, of themselves, make no small tax 
upon his time and skill. The most important of these 
in Mr. Jesup's case were his duties in connection with 
the Rapid Transit Commission and his presidency of 
the Sailors' Snug Harbor. 

It is difficult for us to-day when rapid transit is an ac- 
complished fact, and the difficulties connected with build- 
ing a subway in the crowded thoroughfares of a city as 
densely populated as New York have been successfully 
overcome, to realize how great were the obstacles which 
confronted the men who first suggested the building of 
the present subway, or how much the city owes to the 
persistent courage and sterling integrity of the gentlemen 
who constituted the first rapid transit commission. 

The movement, like so many others which have bene- 
fited the city, had its inception in the Chamber of Com- 
merce. The man who gave the movement its first im- 
pulse was Mr. Abram S. Hewitt, to whom New York 
is indebted for so many other statesmanhke suggestions. 
After Mr. Hewitt, the credit for what was accomplished 
belongs to Mr. Orr, the President of the Chamber at 
the time the Commission was appointed, and from the 
first its efficient and untiring chairman. 

The difficulties which confronted the Commission were 
of three kinds, physical, financial, and political. No 
underground railroad whose roadbed was so close to the 
level of the street as that of the present subway had ever 
been built, and there were many first-class engineers who 
doubted whether it could be built. The Commission 
were confronted with the conflict of expert testimony. 


and it took no little courage for them to follow the untried 
course and to adopt the plans drawn by their chief engi- 
neer, Mr. William Barclay Parsons, to whose recom- 
mendation the adoption of the present route is due. 
Moreover, it was almost impossible to secure the needed 
capital. Incredible as it now seems in the light of later ex- 
perience, the leading financiers of the city doubted whether 
the subway could be made to pay a fair return upon the 
capital invested. Mr. Orr was obliged literally to beg 
from door to door, and it was largely through his own 
personal solicitation that Mr. Belmont was at last induced 
to take the matter up. Finally, the Commission had to 
face the bete noir of all those who carry on public works 
in New York City, the ever present pressure of the politi- 
cians, hungry for patronage and unaccustomed to deal 
with men who insisted that for every dollar spent a dollar's 
worth should be received either in work or in material. 
Under the circumstances it is highly creditable to the 
Commission that they overcame all these obstacles and 
succeeded in demonstrating once and for all that rapid 
transit through subways in the City of New York was at 
once practicable and profitable. 

What Mr. Jesup thought of Mr. Orr's services to the 
cause may be learned from the following extracts. On 
May 28th he writes to him: "I have noted with at- 
tention the thought and care you are constantly giving to 
rapid transit. I really do not know what the men of the 
city would do without you, and I wish every one interested 
appreciated as much as I do your unselfish devotion. I 
wish I could do more to relieve you." And again, on 
December 4th, in connection with the proposal of Mr. 
Orr's name for election as honorary member of the Cham- 


ber: "You deserve the honor because of what you have 
done for the best interests of the Chamber and for what 
you have done for the greater city of New York. Your 
devotion and unselfish work in the cause of rapid transit 
alone is a monument to you, for I do not know how this 
great work could have been carried to the success now 
achieved but for your care and attention to its interests." 
In another letter, when expressing to Mr. Orr his desire 
to retire from the presidency of the Chamber of Com- 
merce, he mentions among the reasons for his being 
willing to remain a little longer if it is required of him, 
his desire to continue to assist Mr. Orr in rapid transit 

The principle on which the Commission acted in its 
handling of the transit situation was, as is well known, 
that of a partnership between the city and private capital. 
Mr. Jesup thoroughly approved of this principle. He 
realized that fifty years, however long it may appear in 
the life of an individual, is short in the life of a city, 
and he regarded as wise the policy which the Commission 
adopted of making arrangements for a liberal compensa- 
tion to the lessee, who assumed the risk of the first experi- 
ment, while insisting that the city should be assured of 
the future increments of value. 

When Mr. Jesup became President of the Chamber 
the plans of the Commission were already well organized 
and its work far on its way to completion. His letters to 
Mr. Orr show the interest with which he followed the vari- 
ous matters which came up for decision from time to time. 
On more than one occasion when an important question 
was to come before the Commission, such for example as 
the question of a third rail for the Manhattan Elevated 


Railroad, or the application of the New York Connecting 
Railroad Company for the franchise, he put his views in 
writing and submitted them to Mr. Orr beforehand. 
He repeatedly sacrificed his own personal convenience 
in order to be present at meetings of the Commission. 

Mr. Jesup's connection with the Sailors' Snug Harbor 
involved greater responsibility. Begun on May 4, 1899, 
this continued for eight years. The appointment, hke 
that to the Rapid Transit Board, came through his 
official position as President of the Chamber. The his- 
tory of the trust is an interesting one. In the early days 
of New York City a certain Captain Randall, an old 
seafaring man, left in trust a tract of twenty-five acres 
in a region of the city including what is now the south 
and east of Washington Square, in the hope that the 
income might suffice to support thirty old sailors. The 
trustees to whom he committed the execution of this 
benevolent purpose were seven in number and consisted 
of the Mayor of the City, the Chancellor of the State, 
the President of the Chamber of Commerce, the Rector 
of Trinity Church, the Minister of the Old First Presby- 
terian Church, and the President and Vice-President of 
the Marine Society. The Board elected its own presi- 
dent, an office to which Mr. Jesup was chosen soon after 
his entrance upon the Board. 

The time of Mr. Jesup's incumbency was critical, 
because the character of the city was changing in such a 
way as to make the policy which had hitherto been pur- 
sued in its management no longer profitable. The trus- 
tees had been accustomed to draw leases for a period of 
twenty-one years, a term too short to make expensive 
improvements possible. Under this policy the property 


was rapidly falling into the hands of undesirable tenants. 
In order to secure the proper improvement of the property 
Mr. Jesup favored a policy of either taking up the leases 
and improving the property for rent by the Board, or 
increasing the length of lease so as to make possible the 
erection of large business buildings such as Wanamaker's. 
Under his leadership the transition was successfully ac- 
complished, and some of the reports written under Mr. 
Jesup's direction not only shed interesting light upon the 
management of this particular trust, but give valuable 
hints of Mr. Jesup's business methods and point of view. 
During Mr. Jesup's presidency of the Chamber oc- 
curred two natural calamities of unexampled magnitude. 
The first was the destruction of St. Pierre in the Island 
of Martinique by the eruption of Mont Pelee; the second 
was the terrible combination of earthquake and fire 
which desolated San Francisco in 1906. In both cases 
the Chamber of Commerce was foremost in measures of 
relief, and to all that was done Mr. Jesup gave his 
personal attention. On his own responsibility, trusting 
that his action would be confirmed, he purchased in the 
name of the Chamber several vessels loaded with grain 
which were on their way to St. Pierre. Learning that the 
parties to whom these vessels were consigned had all been 
destroyed in the volcanic eruption, he telegraphed to the 
American Consul at the nearest port on the island to take 
possession of the vessels and their cargoes when they 
should arrive and to use the latter for the relief of the 
many hungry people on the island. In the case of San 
Francisco he acted no less vigorously. He not only took 
prompt measures for raising money, contributing largely 
of his own means to the generous fund raised by the 


Chamber, but he studied with painstaking care the most 
effective method of rendering the needed help available. 
Under his leadership Dr. Devine was sent to San Fran- 
cisco, and an effective bureau of relief established which 
co-operated with the United States authorities in mitigat- 
ing the horrors of the situation, which must otherwise have 
proved intolerable. One of the writer's most vivid mem- 
ories of Mr. Jesup is in connection with this matter. 
Calling upon him one day at his house, I noticed how 
worn and tired he looked and said to him: "Mr. Jesup, 
why are you staying in the city ? You ought to be at 
Lenox." He answered: "Yes, I know I ought to go 
away, but I simply cannot leave the city while this matter 
of San Francisco still needs my attention. I have fol- 
lowed all the details personally and I cannot commit the 
responsibility to any one else." 

One of the regular duties which devolved upon the 
President of the Chamber was to preside at the annual 
banquet. This function Mr. Jesup took with unusual 
seriousness, and to the details which the preparation for 
the banquet involved he gave his personal attention. The 
company which assembled at these gatherings was a 
notable one, and the speakers, who have included many of 
the most eminent men in the country, from the President 
of the United States down, have often made the meeting 
the occasion for pronouncements of national importance. 
At the banquets Mr. Jesup presided with grace and dis- 
tinction, and the little speeches with which he introduced 
the orators of the occasion were models of their kind. 

Nor was it only in connection with his regular duties 
as President that Mr. Jesup was called upon to act as 
host. When any eminent man visited this country, the 


President of the Chamber was naturally expected to show 
him hospitality. Mr. Jesup was prompt to recognize 
this obligation, and either in an official or unofficial ca- 
pacity entertained most of the distinguished foreigners 
who were in America during his term of office. He was 
one of the committee appointed by Mayor Low to meet 
Prince Henry of Prussia on his visit to this country in 
1902 and to be his personal escort during his stay in New 
York. At the famous Captains of Industry luncheon, 
in which the royal party met a group of representative men 
who had attained eminence in the industrial world, Mr. 
Jesup was one of the hosts and sat on Prince Henry's 
left. In 1904 he entertained Mr. John Morley at lunch- 
eon at the Chamber. In the following year it was his 
privilege as President of the Chamber to welcome to this 
country H. S. H. Rear Admiral Prince Louis of Batten- 
berg, when in November he visited this country in com- 
mand of His Majesty's second cruising squadron. In 
1906 he extended similar hospitalities to the Chinese 
Commissioners who had been sent to America in order 
to study American educational methods, and at the ban- 
quet extended to them on the following night by the rep- 
resentatives of the missionary boards he responded to the 
toast of Commerce. 

The preparation for these and similar functions made 
no small demand upon Mr. Jesup's time. Scrap-books 
found among his papers give an insight into the infinity 
of detail required to make the necessary arrangements. 
When Mr. Morley is to be entertained we find Mr. 
Jesup corresponding with Mr. Choate as to the points 
in the career of his distinguished guest most worthy of 
emphasis. When the dedication of the new building 


of the Chamber brings together the official representa- 
tives of the different European countries, a long corre- 
spondence is necessary with Monsieur Cambon and Mr. 
Hay as to the proper etiquette to be observed in seating 
them. Last, but not least, was the demand upon time 
and thought which was made by the various speeches 
which his duty as presiding officer made necessary. 

In his memorial address delivered at the Chamber on 
June 23, 1908, General Horace Porter, than whom no 
better judge of public address could be found, thus sums 
up his impression of Mr. Jesup as a speaker: "Every 
year we saw him who had devoted his early life entirely 
to mercantile pursuits expressing himself in writing more 
forcefully and in his addresses more eloquently until he 
became one of the most agreeable and graceful presiding 
officers over public bodies whom New York has seen for 
many years." 

This honorable position was not won without effort. 
Mr. Jesup was not naturally a ready speaker. No one 
who heard his strong and musical voice, noted his care- 
fully chosen words, and observed his quiet and self-pos- 
sessed manner would have imagined how much labor 
it cost him to accomplish what he seemed to do so easily. 
Yet, Mr. Jesup himself confessed to a friend that the 
most difficult task which he ever set for himself was that 
of speaking in public. To the end he always imagined 
himself unequal to the occasion and felt the nervous 
strain severely. Among his papers are found rough 
drafts of his different addresses in various stages of prep- 
aration, showing that they were studied again and again, 
polished and repolished, and that he never trusted him- 
self to appear in public until he had perfected that which 


he wished to say to the fullest extent possible. When it 
is remembered that the art was one which he began to 
acquire late in life, and that whatever training he received 
in public speaking was self-given through repeated self- 
criticism, the success which he attained is as creditable 
as it is remarkable. 

As a single illustration of his method I may give an 
extract from his response on February 2, 1906, to the 
toast of Commerce, at the dinner given to the Chinese 
Commissioners. After remarking that he was proud to 
couple the name of commerce with religion, since religion 
was the recognition of God and made better men, and 
commerce therefore stood on a safer and better basis with 
religion as its leader, Mr. Jesup continued as follows: 
"I had the pleasure yesterday as President of the Cham- 
ber of Commerce of receiving our distinguished guests. 
You will remember that in the year 187 1-2 during the 
great famine in China wherein two million of its people 
lost their lives by starvation, the merchants of this city 
organized a relief committee and made the Chamber of 
Commerce the medium of remittances for over sixty 
thousand dollars to relieve those sorely stricken people. 

The acknowledgment of this timely relief was made 
by the Viceroy of Nanking. This distinguished Chinese 
was at the time one of the most influential men in 
China. Accompanying his letter was a tablet covered 
with gold leaf and in large type in black letters were 
certain inscriptions which had never been translated. On 
the arrival of our distinguished guests this tablet was 
brought from the silent resting-place where it had lain 
for thirty-five years and laid before their Excellencies, 
the Commissioners, for translation. It was as follows: 


"There may be differences of races, there exists univer- 
sal brotherhood." This incident Mr. Jesup employed to 
illustrate the sympathy which had always existed between 
China and this country, and he concluded with a strong 
plea that those present should exert pressure upon the 
Government to support the President in the effort that 
he was making to carry through "a treaty based upon the 
principles of a square deal which shall be satisfactory now 
and which shall stand for all earthly time." 

The two most notable incidents in connection with 
Mr. Jesup*s presidency were the visit of a delegation of 
the Chamber to London, at the invitation of the Chamber 
of that city, in the summer of 190 1, and the dedication of 
the new building of the Chamber in November, 1902. 
The occasion for the former is thus explained in the me- 
morial volume which commemorates it and which bears 
the suggestive title, "A Pledge of International Friend- 
ship." After touching upon the friendly relations which 
had long existed between the two Chambers, the com- 
piler recalls the fact that "when the diplomatic relations 
between the United Kingdom and the United States be- 
came strained because of a difference of opinion in regard 
to the boundary line of Venezuela, the London Chamber 
appealed to the New York Chamber to use its good 
offices in the cause of a peaceful solution of the difficulty." 
The manner in which the call was responded to made 
a lasting impression, and it was the desire to mark their 
deep sense of the service thus rendered that prompted 
the Council of the London Chamber to invite the New 
York Chamber to pay a visit to London, which should 
still further strengthen the bonds of sympathy and of 
friendship which united the two Chambers. 


The invitation was accepted in the spirit in which it 
was given, and during the first week of June a representa- 
tive delegation of American merchants, with Mr. Jesup 
at their head, enjoyed the hospitahties which had been 
prepared for them by the extensive and influential com- 
mittee appointed by the London Chamber. 

The festivities of the week included a reception by 
their Majesties at Windsor, a reception by the Ameri- 
can Ambassador, a reception by Lord Brassey, the Pres- 
ident of the London Chamber, a reception by the Lord 
Mayor, a luncheon by the London Chamber, besides 
private entertainments too numerous to mention. The 
visit culminated in the banquet given in Grocers' Hall 
on the evening of June 5th, attended by a large and dis- 
tinguished company. After the health of His Majesty the 
King, and of the President of the United States, had been 
duly drunk and responded to, the Chairman, Lord Bras- 
sey, in a felicitous speech, proposed "Our friends, the 
Chamber of Commerce of the State of New York." Mr. 
Jesup, in responding on behalf of the Chamber, thanked 
the London Chamber for the courtesy of their invitation, 
reminded them of some facts connected with the history 
of the New York Chamber, acknowledged the indebted- 
ness of America to England for "the principles of relig- 
ion, justice and law, which have grown with our growth 
and have become a part of our inheritance,'' and con- 
cluded by inviting all his hearers to be present in New 
York the following November and to participate in the 
dedication of the new building of the Chamber of Com- 
merce, which it was proposed at that time to open. Other 
speeches by eminent men from both sides of the water 
followed, and the meeting broke up at a late hour, hav- 


ing left upon the memories of those who attended it the 
impression of having been one of the most successful 
meetings of the kind held in many years. 

The building to whose dedication Mr. Jesup invited 
the members of the London Chamber, owed its inception 
to a suggestion made by the former president, Mr. Alex- 
ander E. Orr. In the original plans of the Chamber it had 
been proposed that it should have a building of its 
own, but for some reason this had never been carried 
out, and the Chamber, although probably the most pow- 
erful and wealthy group of individuals in America, con- 
tinued in the days of its maturity and prosperity to meet 
about from place to place with the same informality, if 
less simplicity, that had characterized the first meeting 
of the founders at Fraunce's Tavern. It seemed to Mr. 
Orr that the time had come when the Chamber could well 
afford a building of its own. Accordingly, during his 
presidency he inaugurated the movement for a new build- 
ing, which was carried to completion during the incum- 
bency of his successor. 

Mr. Jesup heartily approved of Mr. Orr's plan, and 
made it one of the central interests of his administration. 
He contributed generously to the building fund himself, 
and it is to his efforts more than to those of any other 
man that the beautiful building on Liberty Street is due. 

Mr. Jesup beheved that the new building should be 
dignified and spacious. He wished no expense spared in 
creating an edifice which should worthily express the 
importance of the body it was meant to house. The 
argument that it was not needed for practical purposes 
did not influence him. To him it was a symbol express- 
ing in a way apparent to every one the ideal aspects of 


the life of commerce. Its stately hall with its spacious 
proportions provided ample space in which the portraits 
of former members of the Chamber, who had deserved 
well of the community, could be perpetuated for the 
remembrance of posterity. Its dignified facade afforded 
a worthy pedestal for the statues of the great men, 
like Hamilton, Clinton, and Jay, who, as members of 
the Chamber, had signally served their country, while 
the stairway provided ample accommodation for other 
statues which it might be desired to erect in time to 
come. Mr. Jesup believed in such commemoration. 
Years before, in a letter to Mr. Orr, he had suggested 
that the Chamber present a gold medal to Mr. Hewitt 
in recognition of his distinguished public services. Here 
in the new building was provided a place where such 
recognition could be given in a worthy manner. 

The building was opened with appropriate cere- 
monies on November 17, 1902. Addresses were made 
by Mr. Jesup as President of the Chamber, by ex-Presi- 
dent Cleveland, by President Roosevelt, and by Mayor 
Low. In the evening a banquet was given by the Cham- 
ber, attended by the members of the foreign diplomatic 
corps and by the representatives of foreign Chambers of 
Commerce. In the following year the statues of Ham- 
ilton, Clinton,* and Jay were unveiled with appropriate 
ceremonies, and Mr. Jesup, who had been the guiding 
spirit of the whole, was able to announce the building 

One more occasion on which Mr. Jesup was called 

* The statue of Clinton was Mr. Jesup*s personal gift to the Chamber. In 
his will he also left to the Chamber the Gilbert Stuart portrait of Washing- 
ton, which now hangs in the large hall. 


upon to preside at the dedication of a statue in the new 
building deserves special mention. In the spring of 1903, 
only a few months after the completion of the new build- 
ing, Mr. Hewitt died. At a meeting of the Chamber, 
held on February 5th, it was resolved to erect a marble 
statue to his memory, and a committee was appointed, 
of which Mr. Orr was Chairman, to secure the necessary 
funds and to select a sculptor. The work was entrusted 
to Mr. Couper, and months later, the Chamber met to 
receive the finished work from the hands of the committee. 
In accepting the statue, which represented the friend 
who had so often risen '*in his dignity and strength to 
address and commune with " the members of the Cham- 
ber, and whose "unique personality continued to touch 
and to animate their hearts," Mr. Jesup spoke as follows; 

Mr. Orr: 

On behalf of this Chamber, I receive this magnificent 
gift from your committee. You have performed your du- 
ties in a manner most commendable and praiseworthy. 

You had a most delicate and sacred trust to fulfil. 
You were Mr. Hewitt's friends and companions. You 
knew the man, his character and great ability, and you 
have thrown your own sentiments and love into your work 
by permeating the mind and heart of the sculptor with 
those characteristics which you know were possessed by 
Mr. Hewitt. Mr. Couper has produced a wonderful work 
of art. When it is known how little he had to guide him, 
having never seen Mr. Hewitt or known him, the result 
is truly remarkable. 

As we now look on this unique figure in marble, we 
recall how Mr. Hewitt stood before the members of this 
Chamber on February seventh, 1901, when he made that 
wonderful address on the death of Queen Victoria, and 
again on September sixteenth, 1901, his touching tribute 


to the memory of Mr. McKinley, and still again on Oc- 
tober third, 1 90 1, when he graciously received from the 
Chamber the gold medal tendered to him as an ac- 
knowledgment of what he achieved in making a reality 
the system of rapid transit. As we now look on that 
statue, the face, poise and form of him who has gone, and 
as he appeared to us so often when in the flesh, we are 
almost satisfied that skill, taste and art have done their 

Mr. Orr and fellow members, we gratefully receive this 
gift of love and esteem. We shall place it in yonder hall, 
on the pedestal prepared for its reception; it will be kept 
forever as our choicest possession; we shall guard it from 
all accident and defacement. It will last as long as this 
building of marble and steel exists, and when we are gone 
and new faces and forms come here to take counsel as to 
commerce, trade, and finance, the form of Mr. Hewitt 
will be close by, to remind them, as they remind us, that 
after all, the only greatness in men that lives for all time, 
is, in imitating the life of him who drew his inspiration 
from the Good Master himself, who said : 

"I came not into the world to be ministered unto, but 
to minister." 

I cannot more fitly conclude this chapter which deals 
with Mr. Jesup's services in a representative capacity, 
than by giving in full the address which he delivered at 
the occasion of the London banquet. 

Mr. Chairman, My Lords and Gentlemen: 

It is said that kind words are the music of the world. 
For the gracious and kindly words with which you have 
made us welcome, and for the generous warmth of our re- 
ception manifested in every eye and felt in the clasp of every 
hand, it is my privilege as much as pleasure, representing 
as I do my Associates here, to tender to you on behalf of 


the New York Chamber of Commerce our profound 
thanks. It was a happy inspiration that dictated your 
courteous invitation to this Banquet, and if our coming 
together at this time serves to bind in closer ties the 
relations between the two nations, our highest hopes 
and expectations will be fulfilled, and we shall count it 
a high honor to have been here. Perhaps it will be in- 
teresting to you and to this august assembly to know a 
little about the history of the New York Chamber. The 
first organization of our Chamber was in the year 1768, 
and is older by many years than the Republic and 
the Constitution of the iJnited States. The object of 
that companionship was to extend the blessings of com- 
merce, not only on our side of the water, but to cultivate 
the same relations with you and other portions of the 
world. In the year 1770 we induced George III., King 
of England, France and Ireland, the Defender of the 
Faith, to grant to us a Royal Charter. This Charter 
not only antedates the birth of our Republic as well as 
our Constitution, but it antedates the Revolution. Under 
that Charter it was distinctly stated that it was to perpet- 
uate the blessings of commerce which had been extended 
throughout the world at that time, and incidentally the 
King hoped that our organization would not only be a 
blessing to ourselves, but that it would be a blessing to 
Great Britain. In this Charter mention is also made of 
the amount of real estate the Chamber was to hold, pro- 
viding that it should not exceed at any time the clear 
yearly value of ;f 3,000. We were at that time a Colony 
of the British Empire. The population of the City of 
New York did not exceed thirty thousand, and the popu- 
lation of the entire country was about three millions. 
The value of the commercial relations then existing be- 
tween our country and yours amounted to the small sum 
of fourteen million dollars. But learning from you the 
habit of industry and fair dealing, we have gone on dur- 
ing these one hundred and thirty years until now, in the 


dawn of the Twentieth Century, we come before you, 
and with no Httle pride and satisfaction make the state- 
ment that the value of the commercial relations between 
your country and ours during last year amounted to 
nearly one thousand million dollars. We are not unmind- 
ful, Mr. Chairman, that you are the sharers with us in 
these great relations. You early instilled into our minds 
the principles of religion, justice and law, which have 
grown with our growth and have become a part of our 
inheritance, and with which we have worked during these 
past years, and now we come and offer to you our pro- 
found acknowledgments. Not only have you given us 
these principles which we have enjoyed, but, in our com- 
mercial life, when we have been in need, by your capital 
our great resources have been enlarged, our railroads have 
been built, our mines have been opened and developed, 
and our commerce extended. And it is not only these 
things, Mr. Chairman, that we have received, but how 
many have been the kindly acts of friendship and loyalty 
which we have received at your hands ? 'I remember, and 
I say it with infinite gratitude, that in the year 1837, when 
our country was passing through a disastrous financial 
distress, when our banks had suspended specie payments, 
and when our people were discouraged, one of our loyal 
and most faithiful citizens, Mr. James Gore King, after- 
wards the President of our Chamber, visited London, and, 
by his high character, so impressed your financial men 
that the Bank of England advanced one million pounds 
sterling in sovereigns and sent the same by packet to New 
York under the control of Mr. King, to enable the banks 
in New York to resume specie payments, and thus restore 
confidence to our community. That bank did a most 
kindly and magnanimous thing. No stipulation was made 
as to the return of that money; neither did they expect 
or ask for any reward. It was a kindly act, and one that 
will never be forgotten. But above all this, when our 
country was in the strife of civil war, and we were under 


the apprehension of a divided country and menaced with 
war from England, your illustrious, noble, beloved, good 
Queen — God bless her memory — left the sickbed of her 
husband in order that by her counsel and advice the hand 
that was lifted against us might be stayed. Mr. Chairman, 
we never can forget these things. We are no rivals — no 
jealous rivals — ^we never can be. We are of the same race, 
the same blood, we speak the same language, we worship 
the same God, we read the same Bible. No, sir, we never 
can be rivals. Our only rivalry exists in seeing how we 
can emulate each other in doing those things which tend 
for civic righteousness and truth. Banding ourselves 
together hand in hand, shoulder to shoulder, heart beat- 
ing with heart, let us emulate one another, endeavoring 
to extend to the ends of the earth the blessings of our civil 
and religious liberty, to tell the world of the holy broth- 
erhood of man. And now, Mr. Chairman, before I sit 
down, I want to thank you again for this unbounded hos- 
pitality, for the opportunity of seeing so many of your dis- 
tinguished representatives and citizens, and above all, I 
must utter the feelings of my heart for that opportunity 
afforded to us last Saturday of taking by the hand your 
noble King and Queen. That was an event we shall never 
forget, and its memory will never be effaced as long as we 
live. Mr. Chairman, as you know, we are building for 
ourselves a home in the City of New York; its foundation 
is laid in granite, which means solidity; its structure is 
of steel, which indicates strength; its walls are of white 
marble, the emblem of purity. In a year from now we 
are expecting to consecrate that building to the noble 
cause of commerce, and with it, sir, we expect to conse- 
crate ourselves to the cause of civic righteousness and 
truth. In the language of one of your countrymen, U. S., 
which stands for the United States, stands also for " Us," 
for we are one. It gives me pleasure on behalf of the 
New York Chamber of Commerce, of which I have the 
honor to be President, to extend to you, Sir, and to your 


associates, a most cordial invitation to be with us in a year 
from now, and witness with us the opening of our new 

The address, which was listened to with marked at- 
tention, produced a profound impression. At its con- 
clusion Mr. Jesup received many warm congratulations. 
But among the tributes paid to him, none, I am sure, 
must have gratified him more than the following letter, 
written him on the same evening by Mr. Henry White, 
for many years the Secretary of the American Legation 
at London. 

4 Whitehall Court, S. W. 
Dear Mr. Jesup: 

Just a line to congratulate you most heartily upon the 
admirable speech which you made this evening. I can- 
not say how much I appreciated it as a model of elo- 
quence and good taste. Lord Lansdowne drove me home, 
and expressed most cordial appreciation of it also. You 
perhaps cannot appreciate, as well as I do from a good 
many years' experience, how much good a speech of such 
a nature, delivered at the proper time and under proper 
auspices as yours was, does toward the furtherance of 
that friendship between the two countries which I know 
so many of our countrymen as well as Britons now have 
at heart. 

Yours very sincerely, 

(Signed) Henry White. 



TTT'HEN Mr. Orr called upon Mr. Jesup to request his 
consent to his nomination as President of the 
Chamber of Commerce, he found him engrossed in the 
study of some building plans which covered his table. 
" Mr. Jesup," said Mr. Orr, " I have got a piece of in- 
teresting news to give you." "All right," said Mr. Jesup, 
"just wait a moment until I show you this plan." "But, 
my dear Jesup," remonstrated Mr. Orr, "this business 
of mine is important. I have come to tell you that I wish 
to nominate you for President of the Chamber of Com- 
merce." "Indeed," said Mr. Jesup, "I am glad to hear 
it, but look here, I want to show you what a splendid 
plan this is." And he turned back again to the papers 
on the table. It was only after he had relieved his mind 
to his friend of this paramount interest that he had leisure 
to appreciate the new honor and responsibility to which 
his colleagues of the Chamber invited him. 

The plan which Mr. Orr found Mr. Jesup studying 
was that of the new wing of the American Museum of 
Natural History. The place which the Museum held in 
Mr. Jesup's regard, the long and devoted service which 



he rendered it, and the eminence which it attained under 
his leadership are well known. For more than a quarter 
of a century it was his controlling interest, and it remains 
to-day his most enduring monument. 

Mr. Jesup was elected President of the American 
Museum of Natural History on February 14, 1881, to fill 
the position left vacant by the resignation of Mr. Robert 
L. Stuart. The situation of the Museum at the time was 
critical. It had reached the point inevitable in the his- 
tory of every institution which owes its origin to private 
initiative and depends for its support upon voluntary con- 
tributions, when the first enthusiasm had waned and a 
thorough reorganization seemed necessary if its work was 
to be successfully continued. Such a reorganization, how- 
ever, made greater demands than could be met with the 
resources at the disposal of the trustees. It was necessary 
that some one with force and enthusiasm should put his 
shoulder to the wheel if the enterprise was not to come 
to a standstill altogether. Mr. Robert L. Stuart, who 
was the president at the time, felt that his other engage- 
ments did not permit him to give the necessary time and 
energy to the work. He accordingly called the trustees 
together at his house and, after stating that in the event 
of the continuance of the institution, he must resign as 
president, presented the alternative of winding up its 
aflTairs, or finding some new man who would take the 
leadership. Mr. Jesup, who was present, made an 
earnest plea against discontinuance and, after full dis- 
cussion, it was finally agreed to follow his advice, pro- 
vided Mr. Jesup would consent to take Mr. Stuart's place. 
The responsibility was a heavy one for a man in active 
business, as Mr. Jesup then was, but he was not one to 


urge upon others what he was unwilling to undertake 
himself, and he accordingly gave his consent. 

To understand the problems which confronted Mr. 
Jesup we must go back for a few years and recall the 
circumstances under which the Museum had its origin 
and the purpose which its founders hoped to accomplish. 

The American Museum of Natural History was or- 
ganized on February i, 1869, by a group of private citi- 
zens who were desirous of establishing in the City of 
New York "a museum and library of natural history, of 
encouraging and developing the study of natural science, 
of advancing the general knowledge of kindred subjects, 
and to that end, of furnishing popular instruction and 
recreation.'' * As incorporators appear the names of 
John David Wolfe, the first president, Robert Colgate, 
Benjamin H. Field, Robert L. Stuart, Adrian Iselin, 
Benjamin B. Sherman, William A. Haines, Theodore 
Roosevelt, father of the ex-President, Howard Potter, 
William T. Blodgett, D. Jackson Steward, A. G. P. 
Dodge, Charles A. Dana, Joseph H. Choate, Henry 
Parish, and Mr. Jesup himself. 

Several different influences had combined to bring 
about the new movement. Most important among these 
was the remarkable interest in natural history which had 
been aroused by the work of Louis Agassiz. Assuming 
the Chair of Zoology and Geology in Harvard University 
in 1848, he was not content to bury his talent in an aca- 
demic napkin. To eminence in research he added rare 
gifts of popular interpretation. With the skill of a dram- 
atist he made the story of the past live again. Scientists 
found in him a stout defender of the rights of science, 

*The extract is from the charter of April 6, 1869. 


religious men an equally firm believer in the reality of 
revelation. In Cambridge he planned the Museum of 
Comparative Zoology, v^hich bears his name, and secured 
funds for its erection, which took place in i860. The 
example thus set was followed elsewhere, and, as we 
shall see, was the direct cause of the movement in New 

Other influences, however, were not wanting. In 1836 
the State of New York undertook a survey of the natural 
history of the State. The work was committed to Pro- 
fessor James Hall, and under his competent leadership, 
continued, with various interruptions, for about sixty 
years, valuable collections were gathered. These were 
housed in a temporary museum at Albany, and the pub- 
lications which accompanied and explained them helped 
to educate the public as to the need and the interest of 
such study. 

Still another influence was the opening of Central 
Park. It was one of the ideas of those who planned this 
improvement that the new park would afford a site for 
various buildings of public interest, such as museums 
and the homes of scientific societies. This possibility 
was one of the influences which led to the action of the 
trustees in incorporating the museum. For some time 
they had been in correspondence with Mr. Andrew H. 
Green, then Commissioner in charge, and as early as 
1868 were assured of his support. All seemed ripe for 
action, therefore, when the final steps were taken. 

It was indeed high time that something should be done 
if New York was not to lag behind the other cities of the 
country. Already Philadelphia, Washington, Boston, 
and Chicago had taken steps toward securing permanent 


homes for their collections in natural history.* In New 
York, however, no concerted action had yet been taken. 
There were various collections, of greater or less im- 
portance, some of more popular, some of more scientific 
character. There were several organizations interesting 
themselves more or less directly in one branch or another 
of natural science, but they were unrelated and inde- 

The most important among these early enterprises 
was the New York Academy of Science, the successor 
of the earlier Lyceum of Natural History. Under its 
auspices Mr. Silliman had delivered the seven lectures 
in geology which produced a sensation in their day. In 
the course of time the society had accumulated collections 
of considerable value, but its efforts to secure a perma- 
nent home for its exhibits failed. They finally found a 
resting-place in the Medical College, which then stood 
on the present site of Tammany Hall. This was de- 
stroyed by fire in 1866, and the collections, which were 
uninsured, perished. The friends of the Lyceum were 
therefore glad to transfer their interest to the new enter- 
prise, among the founders of which not a few of them 
were represented. 

The moving spirit in the new plan was a young man 
named Albert S. Bickmore. At Cambridge he had been 
a pupil of Louis Agassiz, from whom he had imbibed 

^The Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia, organized in 1812, had 
secured a building for its collections as early as 1840. In Washington the 
Smithsonian Institution had already been almost twenty-five years in existence. 
Besides the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Cambridge, to which refer- 
ence has already been made, Boston secured a museum in 1864 under the 
auspices of its Society of Natural History. Two years before, the Chicago 
Museum, established by Major Robert Kennicutt, and continued under Mr. 
Simpson, had been seriously damaged by fire. 


his enthusiasm for the study of natural history. After 
leaving Cambridge he spent some years in travel, visiting 
the Spice Islands, China, Japan, and Siberia. Before 
leaving this country he had conceived the idea of a city 
museum, and had talked it over with Mr. William E. 
Dodge, v^hose acquaintance he had made in New York, 
and whose financial assistance made his travels possible. 
On his way home he stopped in London, where he vis- 
ited Richard Owen, and saw the splendid plans which 
the latter had drawn up for the British Museum of 
Natural History. One of the features of these plans 
was a great central lecture hall, from which extended in 
various directions groups of buildings capable of indefi- 
nite extension, a feature afterward incorporated in the 
New York Museum. Owen's plan was adopted by the 
British Government in a modified form for the British 
Museum of Natural History at South Kensington. The 
study of these plans revived Mr. Bickmore's enthusiasm 
for the Museum in New York, and he returned to ad- 
vocate his scheme with all the energy and enthusiasm of 
which he was capable. Mr. Dodge, who at the moment 
was too occupied to assume the leadership of the new 
movement, referred him to Mr. Theodore Roosevelt, in 
whom he found a friend and supporter. Others were 
soon interested in the plan; among them Mr. Benjamin 
H. Field, Mr. John David Wolfe, Mr. William A. Haines, 
Mr. Robert L. Stuart, Mr. Joseph H. Choate, Mr. How- 
ard Potter, and Mr. Jesup. Meetings were held from 
house to house, at which Mr. Bickmore appeared and 
explained his plans. A letter was written to Commissioner 
Green, signed by nineteen gentlemen, in which his co- 
operation was invited. On January 19, 1869, on motion 


of Mr. Howard Potter, a committee, consisting of Mr. 
Haines, Mr. Roosevelt, and Mr. Potter, was appointed to 
draw up a plan of organization, and, at a subsequent 
meeting, held on February i, 1869, the report was ac- 
cepted, and the organization effected by the election of 
Mr. Wolfe as chairman, and Mr. Roosevelt as secretary. 
Two months later a charter was secured from the Legis- 
lature, and the new institution was formally launched. 

One most fortunate circumstance in connection with 
the organization of the Museum was the provision made 
for co-operation between the trustees and the city au- 
thorities. On the initiative of Mr. Choate a clause was 
inserted in the charter which made possible the erection 
and maintenance of a building by the city authorities, 
provided the trustees would furnish the collections. 
The provisions of this clause were carried into effect by 
a contract entered into by the Museum and the city in 
1877, under which the two have worked harmoniously 
ever since. The principle thus adopted has had an im- 
portant effect upon the educational policy of New York. 
The example set by the Natural History Museum was 
followed in the case of the Metropolitan Museum of 
Art in 1870, and the Zoological Park in 1895. It has 
stimulated private benevolence, as well as public ex- 
penditure, and has proved in experience more effective 
than either of the alternative possibilities, exclusive 
municipal or state control or the relegation of the support 
of museums to unassisted private enterprise. 

In view of the later development it is interesting to 
recall the ideals of the founders. Their aim was at once 
popular and scientific. As they themselves tell us, they 
wished "to encourage and develop the study of natural 


sciences," but at the same time and even more, if we can 
judge by the early history, " to advance the general knowl- 
edge of such subjects, and to that end to furnish popular 
instruction and recreation." They were, most of them, 
laymen in science, and they had the layman's interest in 
the practical. A religious motive too influenced some of 
them. They wished the Museum "to be a means of 
teaching our youth to appreciate the wonderful works of 
the Creator." Those were the days when geology and 
Genesis waged battle royal, and this reassurance as to 
their motives was not so needless as it now seems. 

They did not lack good advice. In the archives of the 
Museum is found an interesting letter from Baron Osten 
Sacken,* whom they had consulted as to their plans. It 
gives us such striking anticipation of the future develop- 
ment that it is worth quoting. 

The mistake committed in the formation of most of the 
Cabinets of Natural History is that it is not clearly de- 
fined, from the very start, whether the foundation is in- 
tended for the use of scientific men, or for popular instruc- 
tion and amusement. The two objects are entirely dis- 
tinct, and require diff^erent means of accomplishment. A 
scientific collection ought to be as complete as possible; 
whereas, in a popular collection, completeness is not only 
unnecessary, but may be often objectionable. If you 
present too many objects to an unscientific public, the 
danger is that they will see nothing. If you place before 
a man, ignorant of natural history, an eagle and a hawk, 
he will easily observe the structural differences between 
them. But if you show him one hundred eagles and 
hawks of different size, shape, and color, collected in all 
the different countries of the world, your man will glare 

* The letter, which bears date May, 1869, is directed to Mr. Blodgett. 


at them, but see nothing and remember nothing. And such 
is the effect produced on the pubHc generally by large 
collections such as those of the British Museum, of the Ber- 
lin Museum, etc. Instead of displaying the specimens 
in the most advantageous light, in the most striking posi- 
tion, such collections, from the multiplicity of objects 
and the consequent want of space, are obliged to crowd 
them as much as possible. Hundreds of specimens are 
crowded in a comparatively narrow space, without suffi- 
cient indication of the division in species, genera and 
families. A walk through a long suite of halls, thus filled, 
affords more fatigue than amusement or instruction. 

In forming a collection of Natural History in New 
York, let it therefore be decided from the very beginning, 
whether it is intended for the benefit of scientific men, or 
of the unscientific public. 

I assume that what is needed now is a collection for the 
instruction and amusement of the pubHc at large. 

On such a premise I would propose to form a collec- 
tion of North American mammals and birds, and to be- 
gin with the most common ones. Let it be presented to 
the eye of the public in the most instructive and attractive 
manner; let the names be distinctly written, the scientific 
divisions in families and orders clearly indicated; the 
specimens not too crowded. Let the different species 
appear, as much as possible, surrounded by the objects 
connected with their existence; birds, for instance, with 
their food, their nests, their eggs, etc. Let everything 
be done to illustrate the share of the animal in the econo- 
my of nature. Such is my idea of an instructive popular 

It is worthy of note that Baron Sacken regards the ideal 
of a scientific and of a popular museum as mutually ex- 
clusive, and urges his correspondents to make choice 
between them. This, fortunately, they were not willing 
to do, and the event has proved them in the right. 


For the present, however, there was more than enough 
to occupy them with the demands of the immediate present. 
There were collections to be secured and mounted; there 
was a place of exhibition to be provided, a staff to be 
organized, and financial support to be secured. During 
the first year 1^44,500 was subscribed. Professor Bick- 
more, who had been indefatigable in his labors, both in 
securing subscriptions and in arousing interest, was ap- 
pointed superintendent. Several large collections were 
purchased, notably the Elliott collection of birds, the 
Maximilian collection of mammals and birds, and the 
collections of mammals and birds of the French natural- 
ists Verreaux and Vedray. A temporary place of exhibi- 
tion was secured in Cooper Union, and later in the Ar- 
senal. In 1 87 1 a Committee on Ways and Means was 
appointed to mature plans for increasing the regular 
support of the Museum, and in the following year, a 
Committee on Permanent Site. Mr. Jesup was a member 
of both of these committees, as well as of the Executive 
and the Auditing Committees. 

In 1 87 1 the Committee on Ways and Means reported 
a plan for putting the finances of the institution on a 
sound basis. This contemplated raising a permanent 
fund of fooOjOOO. A system of graded memberships was 
devised, by which the payment of ;?250 constituted a 
life member, j^ioo an honorary member, while the pay- 
ment of ;?io yearly made one an annual member. Under 
this plan the contributions for 1871 reached over foo,ooo, 
an increase of ;? 15,000 over the previous year. 

The task of the Committee on Site, which was ap- 
pointed in the following year, proved more difficult. The 
quarters occupied in the Arsenal were inconvenient and 


ill fitted, and the need of a permanent home was im- 
perative, but it was not easy to decide where this should 
be. The Park Commissioners were in favor of granting 
a site in the Park, under the Act passed by the Legisla- 
ture on April 5, 1871, and several different locations were 
considered. At one time the Commissioners offered the 
site in the eastern part of the Park now occupied by the 
Museum of Art, but later, much to the disappointment 
of the Museum Committee, they changed their minds 
and assigned to them instead a region to the west of the 
Park bounded by Seventy-seventh Street on the south and 
Eighty-first Street on the north, then known as Manhat- 
tan Park. It had originally been designed for a Zoo- 
logical Park, but had been abandoned, as it could not be 

It is difficult to imagine anything more desolate than 
the appearance this park presented in 1872. "The 
region around was an isolated district in transitu to 
something permanent and homogeneous. It combined 
in its pictorial aspects several discordant yet picturesque 
elements. It embraced old farms, ruined landmarks of 
ancient New York, brand-new stores, and the most 
sanitary of modern tenements, bewildering masses of 
hovels clustered together over knobs and rocky ledges, 
and pretty kitchen gardens lying in its deep depressions." ^ 
It is not surprising that the trustees were discouraged, 
and to Mr. Jesup, in particular, who had given much 
time and thought to the matter, the outcome was a great 

On May 17, 1872, President Wolfe died. He was suc- 

* The quotation is from Professor Gratacap's unpublished history of the 


ceeded by Mr. Robert L. Stuart. Before he had been in 
office for a year, the financial panic of 1873 swept over 
the country, and the plans of the trustees received an 
unexpected and most unwelcome setback. Contribu- 
tions fell off, promises of support, given in good faith, 
were withdrawn, and instead of the rapid progress which 
had been hoped for it proved difficult to hold the ground 
which had been gained. 

In spite of difficulties, however, the work went steadily 
forward. The exhibits increased in number and value. 
Miss Catharine L. Wolfe purchased the Jay conchological 
library and collection of shells and presented them to the 
Museum in memory of her father. Mr. Witthaus pre- 
sented his study collection of Coleoptera. Specimens in 
paleontology were added, and beginnings made in archae- 
ology and ethnology. The James Hall collection of fos- 
sils, the largest in the country, the fruit of the geological 
survey of the State, was secured by purchase. The 
difficulty was to know what to do with the collections 
when they arrived. There were no proper facilities for 
exhibition, and the staff was inadequate and overworked. 
Professor Bickmore was indefatigable, but he could not 
do the impossible. **The time of the curators," writes 
Professor Gratacap, "was employed in devising room, 
in anticipating additions, preserving specimens, formulat- 
ing needs and mechanical appliances, renovating, pack- 
ing and unpacking. The Museum had no laboratory, no 
publications and allied itself with no professed body of 
scientific students or thinkers. Its immediate care was 
to keep its collections safe." 

Under these trying circumstances the plans for the 
new building went forward. They had been entrusted 


to Mr. Calvert Vaux, who entered sympathetically into 
the ideals of the founders and did his work so well that 
room has been found for all the later development within 
the lines which he originally laid down. As planned by 
Mr. Vaux, the new building was simply one link in a 
chain of buildings which, when completed, should cover 
the entire square, an ideal which, when we remember the 
circumstances in which it was conceived, does equal 
honor to the faith of the architect who designed and to the 
courage of the trustees who approved it. The^corner- 
stone was laid on June 2, 1874, in the presence of a large 
audience, and addresses were made by the President of 
the United States, the Governor of the State, and the 
Mayor. Three years later the building was complete, 
and most of the collections were removed. In view of 
the distance of the new site, however, it seemed wise to 
leave a part of the exhibits in the Arsenal, where they 
continued' to be visited by large numbers of people. 

The year 1877 may be taken as the low-water mark 
in the history of the Museum. Thereafter matters be- 
gan to improve. In this year the contract was made with 
the city authorities, by which they agreed to be responsi- 
ble for the provision and maintenance of the building. 
In the following year the staff was reorganized, but there 
was still much to be done, and little to do it with. The 
Museum was burdened by earlier purchases, notably in 
connection with the Hall collection, and it was evident 
that if it was to fulfil its ideal, some radical step must 
be taken. 

In 1880 Mr. Jesup, as chairman of the Executive 
Committee, made an exhaustive report on the condition 
of the collections. 


To Robert L. Stuart, Esq., 

President of the American Museum of Natural 

Dear Sir: In response to your letter of April 13th, I re- 
spectfully beg leave to submit the following statements and 
recommendations for the consideration of the Trustees. 

I have carefully examined the collections of the Museum 
both in the new building and at the Arsenal. 

In the Geological Department I find that the duplicates 
of the James Hall collection of fossils have been selected 
and divided into ten series which are now all catalogued 
and placed in boxes ready for exchange. 

The Museum specimens have been arranged in the 
exhibition cases of the Upper Hall, but are nearly all 
without labels, and Prof. Whitfield is now engaged in the 
scientific identification of each specimen and preparing 
for it a proper label for public exhibition. To facilitate 
and economize his work which will require several years 
to complete, I recommend that an assistant for him be 
employed, and that in one-fourth of the hall wooden 
backs be placed in the cases and the shelves be so inclined 
that the specimens may be seen to the best advantage. 

I also find that our indebtedness to Prof. Hall for his 
collections has, for the past four years, absorbed nearly all 
the moneys we have raised, and left the Museum without 
the means of properly improving and labelling the speci- 
mens in other departments, and that in our great collec- 
tion of birds in the Main Hall many of the specimens of 
the Maximilian Collection remain upon the rude stands 
on which they were placed when the collection was pur- 
chased in Germany, and that these perches and stands 
are a serious blemish upon our otherwise attractive ex- 
hibition in that Hall. 

From the many valuable bird skins presented by Mr. 
D. G. Elliott and others, and received in exchange from 
the Smithsonian Institution, Mr. Elliott and Professor 
Ridgway of the Smithsonian have selected about 600, 


which if mounted would form a very important addition 
to the specimens in the Main Hall, particularly to the Birds 
of North America. 

I therefore recommend that these birds be mounted 
and placed on exhibition, that those of the Maximilian 
Collection, which require it, be transferred to suitable 
stands; that the South American birds be properly la- 

In regard to the Mammals in the lower Hall I recom- 
mend that the specimens purchased of Prince Maximilian, 
that need it, be remounted and provided with suitable 
stands, and all the specimens, including the skeletons, be 
supplied with new labels. 

At my request our Superintendent has made a careful 
estimate of the cost of making the improvements of the 
collections in the new building as herein suggested. I 
regard these recommendations as absolutely necessary for 
the good repute of the Museum. Any of the Trustees, 
by visiting the Museum and examining it carefully, will 
find that we have a grand collection of birds and mammals, 
but the want of means and the incessant calls upon the 
Trustees and the Superintendent has heretofore pre- 
vented these departments of the Museum from being 
properly improved. For the credit of the Museum and 
that of the City I hope that the Trustees will respond to the 
appeal . made for the necessary funds, as herein stated, 
to place the Museum in a presentable shape. 

Regarding the Arsenal, I would call the attention of 
the Board to the deplorable state of the building. It is 
simply shabby in the extreme. It needs painting and 
cleaning and overhauling. This being done, I believe 
it would be well and aptly utilized by a careful and ju- 
dicious selection of woods, building stones, minerals and 
other economic products of our country, which could be 
displayed here with great facility, and thus benefit by 
its accessibility and attractiveness the common people, 
who take such a deep interest in the economic arts. 


The present collections in the Arsenal are not to be 
commended, but there are some things there that should 
be carefully preserved; and to do this would require some 

If this money can be raised I should consider it a 
great advantage to the Museum. . . . Unless something 
can be done to improve the attractiveness of the build- 
ing and the bettering of the condition of the collections we 
have in the Arsenal, I see no object at all in maintain- 
ing it. 

At the same time, to give the Trustees some idea of the 
difference in the location I would state that on my visit 
to the Arsenal there were at least twice as many visitors 
looking at the remnants of the old collections as there were 
in the main building on my visit there. 
Yours truly, 

(Signed) Morris K. Jesup, 
Chairman of the Executive Committee, 

This report brings graphically before us the conditions 
which confronted Mr. Jesup when in 1881 he succeeded 
Mr. Stuart as President of the Museum. They were such 
as might well have daunted a less resolute spirit. The 
site of the new building was remote from its natural con- 
stituency; its surroundings were unattractive, and indeed 
desolate. Its collections were imperfectly mounted and 
only partially displayed. Its staff was inadequate in num- 
bers; its financial support was insufficient and uncertain. 
It was evident that if things were to be altered there was 
need of an intelligent plan, and energy and perseverance 
in following it out. 

These qualities Mr. Jesup supplied. He was singu- 
larly fitted by his previous training for his new position. 
For one thing he had accurate knowledge of the situa- 
tion. His service on the various committees, already 


described, had acquainted him with the history of the 
Museum in all its details. He understood its finances, 
he had studied its collections, he was personally acquainted 
with its staff and with the leading members of its con- 
stituency. He did not need to depend upon the infor- 
mation of others for the knowledge on which to base 
his policy. 

His business training too stood him in good stead. The 
problem before the Museum was largely financial. Large 
sums of money must be raised and wisely and economi- 
cally expended. No one could hope to deal with the sit- 
uation who had not learned from personal experience both 
how to make and how to spend money. Mr. Jesup 
had learned both. 

Of a third qualification the present writer would speak 
with more hesitancy. Mr. Jesup was a man without 
scientific training. This might seem indeed to be an 
obstacle rather than a qualification for the presidency of 
a museum; yet, as a matter of fact, it proved one of the 
most important elements in Mr. Jesup's success. It 
helped him to hold a due proportion between the various 
objects which he sought to attain. It was a bond of 
union between him and the public whom the Museum 
was primarily designed to serve. It helped him to keep 
steadily before his eyes and the eyes of the staff the prac- 
tical ends to be accomplished. On this point I may be 
allowed to quote Professor Bumpus, the Director of the 
Museum, who will not be suspected of being prejudiced 
against the value of a scientific training: 

It was a fortunate thing that in 1881 the newly elected 
President, although in sympathy with science, had re- 


ceived no scientific training. He began his duties, un- 
trammelled by tradition. He was the advocate of no es- 
tablished school or method; his desire was merely that 
the Museum should be financially sound; that established 
business methods should obtain, and that the institution 
should actively minister to the people of the city. The 
impelling motive of his entire administration was the de- 
sire that the Museum should be instructive. No inter- 
view with the Museum officers was complete unless it 
enjoined consideration of the needs of the visiting public. 
His oft repeated remark, " I am a plain, unscientific busi- 
ness man; I want the exhibits to be labelled so that I 
can understand them, and then I shall feel sure that others 
can understand," summed up his prime desire. Labels 
with stilted scientific verbiage were to him as out of place 
in a public exhibition hall as popular treatises on nature 
study are unfitted for the research laboratory. 

Mr. Jesup gave to the Museum four things, time, 
money, thought, and enthusiasm, and to this combina- 
tion the success of his administration is due. 

In the first place he gave his time. For many years he 
followed all the details of administration personally. 
He was not content to perform the official duties which his 
presidency required. He spent much time in the rooms 
watching the visitors and conversing with them. He 
would ask them what they had learned from this or that 
exhibit, or whether they had found such and such a 
lecture profitable. He studied the labels critically, com- 
menting favorably upon those which he understood, 
and suggesting changes when they seemed to him pedan- 
tic or obscure. He often read the proof of matter designed 
for publication before it appeared. He welcomed the 
expression of opinions from his friends, or indeed from 


any source which could give him light as to the extent 
to which the Museum was realizing its opportunities. In 
short, he brought to the service of the institution a strong 
personality, with independent convictions, inexhaustible 
interest, and indefatigable energy. 

In the second place, he gave money. This was in- 
deed indispensable in the situation in which he found 
himself. The contract with the city required that the 
trustees should furnish the specimens which the city 
was to house. It was evident, then, that what could be 
expected from the city would depend upon the liberality 
of the trustees. During the first twelve years they had 
subscribed from their own means more than ;^ 100,000 for 
the purchase of specimens, but it was evident that in the 
future very much larger sums would be needed. Mr. 
Jesup set the example of liberahty. It was his custom 
when proposing to his colleagues any plan which called 
for expenditure on their part, to put his own name at 
the head of the subscription list. During the twenty- 
nine years of his presidency his contributions to the 
Museum aggregated the sum of ;?450,ooo. 

More important still, he gave thought. He never 
let the present need blind him to the future possibility. 
He was always looking ahead and, as he looked, the 
lines of the Museum that was to be took shape before 
his eyes. "It is exceedingly improbable," says Professor 
Bumpus, "that Mr. Jesup or any of his associates at the 
beginning conceived of an institution substantially dif- 
ferent from the natural history museums which they had 
visited in London, Paris, Washington, or elsewhere. 
Certainly the early growth of the Museum was imitative 
rather than inventive. Collections were purchased. 


placed in cases, and people came, looked and passed 
on." In the nature of the case it could not be otherwise, 
but about the time of Mr. Jesup's accession to the presi- 
dency conditions had changed. It was possible to plan 
more intelligently; indeed, it was necessary to do so. 

Finally, Mr. Jesup brought to his new position an 
abounding enthusiasm. He believed that the work 
to which he had set his hand was worth while, and he 
was determined to let no obstacle daunt him which stood 
in the way of its accomplishment. His previous expe- 
rience had taught him that difficulties were made to be 
overcome. Difficulties, to be sure, were here in plenty. 
It was his determination to show that they were not in- 
superable. How he succeeded must be left to the next 
chapter to show. 



npHE broad spirit in which Mr. Jesup approached his 
•*■ new duties is well shown by the following extract 
from the report which he made to the trustees in 1884, 
three years after he assumed the presidency. After call- 
ing attention to the need of an assured annual income for 
the Museum from an endowment fund, and the disad- 
vantages under which it labored in this respect, in com- 
parison with the great museums on the Continent which 
are chiefly sustained by public funds, he goes on to say 
that it is impossible to reckon the value of such work 
as the Museum is doing, in terms of dollars and cents. 
There is another factor in science, not so often recog- 
nized, and that is its "ameliorating power, its educational 
force, and the scope it affords the higher faculties of 
man. Commercial values and purely scientific values 
meet often on common ground. But their essential life 
belongs to opposite poles. To some it appears necessary 
to vindicate the employment of large amounts of public 
money, in such an institution as that which you control, 
from the charge of extravagance. Their ideas of value 
appear to be limited to that which is exchangeable in the 
current coin of the market, but the highest results of 



character and life offer something which cannot be 
weighed in the balance of the merchant, be he ever so 
wise in his generation. 

"The advantage of your Museum to the multitude, 
shut up within stone walls, is that it aflFords opportunity 
to become acquainted with the beauty of natural objects 
and to study them in their usual aspects and conditions, 
and, out of the great number who look on vaguely and ex- 
perience only the healthful excitement of a natural curi- 
osity, one here and there may be found endowed with 
special aptitude and tastes, perhaps some child of genius 
whose susceptibilities and faculties, once aroused and 
quickened, will repay your expenditure a thousandfold." 

These words are the more significant, coming from 
one whose business training had taught him the value 
of dollars and cents. It is worthy of note that the year 
in which they were spoken, 1884, witnessed Mr. Jesup's 
own decision to retire from active business, that he might 
give himself with undivided energy to the pursuit of the 
values of the spirit. There can be little doubt that his 
increasing interest in the Museum and his growing sense 
of its importance was one of the controlling factors which 
led him to this decision. 

"The two grandly distinctive features of Mr. Jesup's 
administration," writes President Osborn, "were, first, 
the desire to popularize science through the arrange- 
ment and exhibition of collections in such a simple and 
attractive manner as to render them intelligible to all 
visitors; and secondly, his recognition that at the founda- 
tion of popular science is pure science, and his determi- 
nation, which increased with advancing years, that the 
Museum should be as famous for its scientific research 


and explorations as for its popular exhibitions of educa- 
tional work." 

It is not my purpose here to tell the story of Mr. Jesup's 
administration in detail, but only to touch upon the 
salient points which illustrate his character and ideals. 
In doing this, it will be convenient to depart from the 
chronological order and take up in succession the chief 
problems by which he was confronted. These problems 
were of two kinds, primary and secondary. The primary 
problems had to do with the constituent elements in the 
make-up of the Museum; the secondary, with their 
proper co-ordination and use. 

There are four ingredients which go to make up a 
successful museum: money, men, exhibits, and a place 
in which to show them. There are four conditions which 
determine the effective use of these ingredients. The 
exhibits must be properly mounted and displayed. There 
must be people to see them. They must be so inter- 
preted as to make apparent their true place in the sys- 
tem of human knowledge, and their true contribution to 
human welfare; and finally, they must be so related 
to other exhibits of a similar kind as to avoid needless 
waste and duplication and to secure the maximum of 
social efficiency. The primary problems, then, are those 
of finance, personnel, acquisition, and housing. The sec- 
ondary problems are those of installation, advertising, re- 
search, and co-operation. Mr. Jesup's administration met 
all these problems and contributed notably to their so- 
lution. It will be convenient in what follows to consider 
them in turn. 

The first of the primary problems to engage Mr. 
Jesup's attention was the financial problem. He saw that 


if the Museum was to fulfil its true function in the life 
of the community it must have an assured income. There 
must be money enough to buy and install the necessary 
collections, to mount and catalogue those that were given, 
and to pay the salaries of a staff cornpetent to do this work 
in an adequate and satisfactory way. 

This was far from the case when he assumed the pres- 
idency. The trustees, who in 1879 had had to put their 
hands in their pockets to make up a deficit of ;?26,ooo, 
had passed a resolution "that hereafter no indebtedness 
of any kind should be incurred for the purchase of any 
collection or for any other purpose, without first provid- 
ing the money to pay for the same." The application 
of this rule seriously embarrassed the administration. 
It was with the utmost difficulty that funds were secured 
to meet the necessary expenses. By the contract of 
1877 the city had agreed to contribute to the maintenance 
of the building, but the contribution was small, first 
amounting to only ^9,000 a year. During the eleven 
years from 1871 to 1882, about ;?50,ooo was secured from 
membership dues under the plan of 1871, but there was 
no permanent endowment fund, and the sum received 
was wholly inadequate. 

Mr. Jesup's experience as Chairman of the Finance 
Committee had convinced him that the only adequate 
solution of the Museum's problem was the establish- 
ment of a permanent endowment fund. As early as 1880 
this plan had been urged upon the Board by Mr. Con- 
stable, who proposed that an attempt should be made to 
create a permanent fund of ;?30o,ooo, of which the interest 
should be available for running expenses. No action was 
taken on this proposal at the time. Three years later, 


however, a bequest of ;?5,ooo from the estate of Mr. 
William E. Dodge, Sr., made a beginning possible, and a 
permanent endowment fund was formally established 
by vote of the trustees. The example set by Mr. Dodge 
was followed by others. Mr. Jesup himself contributed 
liberally and, under his fostering care, the fund grew 
until at the present time it amounts to over ;g2,ooo,ooo. 

The contributions of the city had grown correspond- 
ingly. Progress in this direction was at first slow. In 
1875 the Museum received ;?i,290; in 1876, ;?i,537. Ten 
years later the city's contribution was ;? 14,920; in 1891 
it was ;?25,ooo. In recent years the growth has been much 
more rapid. The strides made by the Museum in pubhc 
favor, the enormous growth of its buildings and its col- 
lections, have vastly increased the expense of maintenance. 
In 1900 the city contributed ;? 120,000. The appropriation 
for last year was ;? 180,000. 

The liberality of the trustees kept pace with the in- 
creasing contributions of the city. Apart from the en- 
dowment fund, already mentioned, and the gifts of in- 
dividuals for special collections, presently to be described, 
it is estimated that up to the present time the trustees 
and other friends have contributed to the expenses of the 
Museum, exclusive of the collections, ^1,531,257. If 
the value of the collections given be included, the sum 
would aggregate a far larger amount. 

But, important as is money for the success of an insti- 
tution, men are even more important. Here the progress 
made under Mr. Jesup's administration is notable. A 
comparison of the report of 188 1, the year in which he be- 
came President, with that of 1907, the year prior to his 
death, shows that whereas in the first year the staff con- 


sisted of but six persons, in the latter it had risen to 
twenty-eight. In the former case three departments were 
represented; in the latter, eleven. Whereas in the former 
case the superintendent of the Museum, Professor Bick- 
more, added to his duties as general executive the charge 
of two departments, those of ethnology and of public in- 
struction, the Museum now has a director who gives his 
entire time to the executive management of the work, 
while some of the individual departments are represented 
by no less than four men. 

This increase in numbers was accompanied by a corre- 
sponding change in the character and functions of the 
staff. With a larger force, greater differentiation was 
possible. New departments were added and co-ordi- 
nated with the existing ones on a scientific principle.* 
As the value of the collections increased and the variety 
of fields covered multiplied, it became necessary to secure 
the services of speciahsts in order to insure the proper use 
of the materials, and the scientific standing of the staff 
steadily increased. With the election on Feb. ii, 1901, 
to the second vice-presidency, of Professor Henry Fairfield 
Osborn this tendency was powerfully reinforced. As one 
of the leading naturalists of the country. Professor Os- 
born not only directed the activities and administered the 
explorations of what had become easily one of the most 
important departments of the Museum, but his official 
position brought him into intimate relations with Mr. 
Jesup, and in this capacity he exercised a powerful 
influence upon the policy of the institution. Until the 

* Professor Bickmore, who had long been doing the work of several men, 
was relieved of his extra duties, and concentrated his attention more and more 
upon the work of public instruction, in which from the first his interest had 
been primarily engaged. 


appointment of Professor Bumpus in 1902 he was not only 
the logical scientific adviser of the President, but became 
in a very real sense involved with him in the government 
of the Museum, to the presidency of which he has since 
so fitly succeeded. 

But the growing responsibilities involved in the Mu- 
seum's administration soon made it apparent that a new 
executive officer was needed. Professor Osborn's scien- 
tific duties made constantly increasing demands upon 
his time, and Mr. Jesup, who had hitherto followed all 
the details of the Museum's administration personally, 
found his work increasingly difficult, in view of the many 
public duties which were crowding upon him. Accord- 
ingly, on Jan. 17, 1902, at the suggestion of Professor 
Osborn, the office of Director was created by the Trus- 
tees, and Professor Hermon Carey Bumpus, who for- 
merly had been Professor of Zoology in Brown Univer- 
sity, and who had been during the previous year assistant 
to the President, was appointed to the position. Professor 
Bumpus's appointment proved a great relief to Mr. Jesup. 
He assumed full charge of the details of administration 
and left Professor Osborn and Mr. Jesup himself free for 
the important work which properly belonged to the posi- 
tions they held. 

But the true progress of the Museum during the period 
under review can only be measured when we consider the 
increase of its collections. When it is recalled that in 
1 88 1 all the exhibits of the Museum, with the exception 
of a few specimens left on deposit in the Arsenal, were 
displayed in a single building one hundred and seventy 
feet long by sixty wide, and that they now fill more than 
five times the space, some idea of this progress can be 


obtained. Nor was the growth simply one of quantity. 
Important new departments have been created, among 
others, the department of vertebrate paleontology. Great 
collections have been added by purchase or gift, and 
existing collections completed and enlarged by the secur- 
ing of needed specimens. Most important of all, the 
whole has been co-ordinated on a scientific plan which 
covers the entire field of natural history, and systematic 
exploration undertaken by the Museum in order to secure 
the specimens which are needed to fill the gaps which 
still remain. 

This notable progress was possible only through the 
willing co-operation of many individuals. Mr. J. Pier- 
pont Morgan gave the collection of gems which bears 
his name; the Duke of Loubat valuable collections of 
Mexican antiquities. Others contributed no less gen- 
erously. To rehearse all these gifts would be to retell 
the history of the Museum in detail. Here we are con- 
cerned only with Mr. Jesup's share of this splendid rec- 
ord of progress. 

Almost the first step taken by Mr. Jesup upon his 
accession to the presidency was the creation at his own 
expense of an economic department having in view a 
collection of all the woods in the United States which could 
be devoted to building and manufacturing purposes. In 
Mr. Jesup's original plan the formation of this collection 
was but one step in a policy which was ultimately designed 
to include the mineral kingdom as well.^ But he soon 

* The plan for the geological section is thus outlined in the Report of 1880. 
"This department shall exhibit in all their varieties the granites, sandstones, 
limestones, marbles, slates, clays for brick and tile, and sands for glass, that 
are known in America. We are in correspondence with Dr. George W. Hawes, 
who with the aid of a large corps of prominent geologists, is preparing a Report 


found that he had quite enough on his hands with what 
he had undertaken. There proved to be more woods in 
the country than Mr. Jesup or any of his advisers had 
supposed, and not only was the cost of the enterprise 
much greater than had been originally contemplated, but 
the demands made upon the Museum for space strained 
its resources almost to the breaking-point. Under the 
circumstances it was necessary to postpone the other 
part of the programme, which, even to this day, remains 
an ideal for the future. 

The collection of woods, on the other hand, grew stead- 
ily until it attained its present splendid proportions. The 
idea was suggested to Mr. Jesup in connection with the 
preparation of the tenth census under General Francis A. 
Walker. Its execution he entrusted to Professor Charles 
S. Sargent, of Brookline, Massachusetts, who for many 
years acted as his agent in the collection of the specimens. 
On their arrival at the Museum they were prepared for 
exhibition by S. T. Dill, who carefully restored the de- 
cayed portions. The trunks were, on an average, six 
feet high and were cut so as to show vertical, horizontal, 
and oblique sections, both in the natural and in the pol- 
ished state. Beside every tree was shown an outline map 
of the United States, giving the geographical distribu- 

for the Census upon the quarries and ornamental and building stones of our 
country, and we anticipate securing his active co-operation in gathering and 
preparing for exhibition the exhaustive series of specimens we desire. These 
collections will be so amply and scientifically labelled and illustrated that 
it will be a source of instruction for the artisan and laboring classes of our 
citizens, and the pupils of our public schools whom it is our special desire to 

"It will be supplemented by a gathering of all the maps, plans and photographic 
views, that have yet been published on these subjects, and such valuable data 
will be accessible to all desiring detailed information, as builders, architects or 
persons erecting private dwellings." 


tion of the species to which it was attached, while an- 
nexed tables recorded the physical structure of the tree in 
respect to density, gravity, resistance to pressure, and 
chemical composition. Above each specimen hangs a 
colored sketch of the leaf, flower and fruit, executed by 
Mrs. Sargent, so that in the briefest possible compass all 
possible knowledge is afforded the eye of the spectator. 
In this notable collection are represented all the great 
areas of the forest distribution of the United States, those 
of the Atlantic region embracing the northern pine belt, 
the Southern maritime pine belt, the deciduous forest of 
the Mississippi basin, the semi-tropical forest of Florida, 
and the Mexican forest of southern Texas, as well as the 
great forests of the Pacific region embracing the Northern 
forest and the Mexican forest. More than twenty years 
have been occupied in the making of this collection, which, 
begun with the opening years of Mr. Jesup's admin- 
istration, has been practically completed only within the 
last five years. 

"The formation of the Jesup Collection of North 
American Woods,*' writes Mr. Sargent, "was a matter 
of national importance. The preparation of this col- 
lection enabled us to study the distribution of the eco- 
nomic value of many trees which, before Mr. Jesup's 
undertaking, were largely unknown. I think it can be 
said that this collection is the finest representation of forest 
wealth that exists in any country." 

Through his interest in this collection Mr. Jesup was 
led to study the larger questions connected with forestry, 
and his energetic advocacy of the work of forest preserva- 
tion, to which we have already referred, was the direct 
outcome of this interest. "Mr. Jesup," continues Mr. 


Sargent, "certainly played an important part in the 
early movement for the better care of the North Ameri- 
can forests, and by those who love trees he will always 
be gratefully remembered." 

An interesting offshoot of the collection of woods was 
the Jesup Collection of Economic Entomology. This 
was begun in 1899 and had for its purpose the exhibition 
of specimens showing the nature and habits of those in- 
sects which are the natural enemies of forest and shade 
trees. These specimens are arranged in groups showing 
the life histories of insects, and are illustrated by wax 
reproductions of their food plants showing the injury 
done to the trees by the insects. The collection now 
amounts to fifty-three groups. 

The second great contribution of Mr. Jesup to the 
collections of the Museum was in connection with the 
department of vertebrate paleontology which had been 
established in 1891 by the appointment of Professor 
Osborn as curator. The researches of Marsh and of Cope 
had aroused the interest of the public in this subject and 
had revealed the presence in America of a series of ex- 
tinct creatures ranging through the mesozoic, and es- 
pecially the cretaceous age, and the tertiary, and present- 
ing new and luminous evidence for the doctrine of evo- 
lution, while the perfection in which they were pre- 
served has made them one of the scientific wonders of 
the world. Professor Osborn proposed to collect the 
remains of these extinct animals, to mount them more 
perfectly than had ever been done before, to study them 
scientifically, to conduct systematic exploration of the 
regions in which their fossil remains had been discovered, 
in the hope of adding new series to those already known. 


and, finally, to exhibit them in the most effective manner 
possible. Mr. Jesup was greatly interested in this plan 
and lent it his hearty support. Under Professor Osborn's 
leadership a series of expeditions was organized, which 
undertook the systematic investigation of all the strata in 
which fossil remains were likely to be discovered. An 
efficient field staff was organized under the direction of 
Dr. J. L. Wortman. Clever methods of packing and 
transporting the specimens when found were devised, 
new mechanical devices were invented for their effective 
exhibition, and the results gained made known to the 
world in a series of scholarly productions. 

In 1895 the famous Cope Collection of North American 
fossil mammals came into the market. This collection, 
which was the most complete and valuable of its kind 
in the world, aggregated nearly ten thousand specimens, 
and represented four hundred and eighty-three species. 
Mr. Jesup united with several other trustees and friends 
of the Museum in the purchase of this collection. Five 
years later, when the collection of the lower vertebrates 
of the same great scientist was offered for sale, Mr. Jesup 
purchased this at his own expense and presented it to 
the Museum. The entire visible fruits of the life work 
of one of the most brilliant of American paleontologists 
were thus secured for the Museum. 

In the meantime, the work of field exploration was 
being systematically pushed forward. New specimens of 
extraordinary interest and value were being added from 
year to year, and when, in 1896, Mr. Jesup opened the 
new hall of vertebrate paleontology, he had the satisfaction 
of knowing that it contained the most complete and best- 
appointed collection of its kind in the world. 


A third notable contribution of Mr. Jesup was made 
to the department of anthropology, in connection with 
the North Pacific expedition which he inaugurated in 
1897. The growth of this department was indeed one of 
the striking features of his administration. Collections 
of Indian antiquities had been acquired by the Museum 
before its removal to the new site, and other and valuable 
gifts soon followed. The department was at first in 
charge of Professor Bickmore, who was much interested 
in the subject, but his growing duties in connection 
with the work of public instruction, together with the 
increasing value of the collections, rendered the creation 
of an independent department necessary, and Professor 
Terry was appointed curator, who, in turn, was suc- 
ceeded in 1894 by Professor Frederick W. Putnam, 
Head of the Peabody Museum of Cambridge. Under 
Professor Putnam's inspiration and leadership the de- 
partment rapidly expanded. Expeditions were under- 
taken to Mexico, Central America, Peru, Chili, Bolivia, 
Arizona, New Mexico, Florida, British Columbia, and 
the regions contiguous to Behring Straits. Valuable 
collections were acquired by purchase and gift. The 
Duke of Loubat presented to it a complete replica of the 
antiquities of Central America and Mexico — a gift which 
extended over several years. Through this and similar 
gifts the Museum became very rich in material bearing 
upon the anthropology of this country, and questions re- 
lating to the origin and history of its earliest inhabitants 
engaged the attention and study of its representatives. 

It was to this interest that the North Pacific expedition 
owed its origin. In his report to the Board for 1896 Mr. 
Jesup speaks as follows: "In closing our reference to 


the work of the Department of Anthropology it is proper 
to add a few words regarding a subject of great interest, 
not only to the speciahst in this subject, but also to per- 
sons interested in scientific research in other fields. I 
refer to the theory that America was originally peopled 
by migratory tribes from the Asiatic continent. The 
opportunities for solving this problem are rapidly dis- 
appearing, and I would be deeply grateful to learn that 
some friends of the Museum may feel disposed to con- 
tribute the means for the prosecution of systematic in- 
vestigation, in the hope of securing the data to demonstrate 
the truth or falsity of the claim set forth by various promi- 
nent men of science." In the following year, no one 
else having volunteered, Mr. Jesup undertook to carry 
out his own suggestion, and for several years systematic 
field work was carried on under the auspices of the Mu- 
seum. In 1897 the work was confined to the coast of 
British Columbia; in the following year it was under- 
taken upon a more extended scale. Parties were in the 
field on the coast of the State of Washington, in the 
southern interior of British Columbia, and in north- 
eastern Siberia. Extensive collections were made both of 
archaeological and ethnological material, which were put 
on exhibition in the Museum, and added greatly to 
the value of its collections. 

Of the scientific value of the results attained this is 
not the place to speak.* Our interest here is in the light 

*Dr. Franz Boas, who was in charge of the expedition, thus sums up his 
impression of the value of the results obtained: "An inquiry of this kind 
seemed profitable from two different stand-points. First of all, we had reason 
to hope that we should be making an important contribution to the knowledge 
of the relations existing between the primitive inhabitants of America and those 
of the Old World; further, we anticipated that a study of the historical de- 
velopment of a large territory, inhabited by peoples of simple types of culture, 


which the undertaking sheds upon Mr. Jesup's own 
character. The question at issue was one of purely 
scientific character, without any direct practical bearing. 
Yet it engaged Mr. Jesup's interest no less heartily, and 
he followed it with no less persistence, than his work for 
forest preservation or his collection of American woods. 

An incident which occurred in connection with this 
expedition illustrates Mr. Jesup's persistence in anything 
to which he had set his hand. I give the story in his 
own words. "When I consented to pay the expenses of 
the expedition to northwest Alaska it became very im- 
portant that the best scientific men should be engaged to 
take charge of it. After long negotiations Dr. Laufer, 
from the St. Petersburg Society, was chosen and instructed 
by cable to come to this country for instructions. He 
came in such hot haste that he neglected to obtain his 
passport, and when he was ready to return to the East 
on his scientific quest he attempted to secure his pass- 
port at the Russian embassy and was refused because he 
was a Jew. The whole expedition was imperilled, as it 
was impossible to secure any competent substitute. I 
therefore applied to the Russian Ambassador at Washing- 
would furnish us with the means of approaching more methodicailly and with 
greater precision the most troublesome problem of ethnography, the question 
of independent invention or borrowing. 

It seems to me that the results of our work have fully justified this method 
of carefully studying a continuous area with the purpose of clearing up its 
historical relations. Not only did we find everywhere clear proofs of borrow- 
ing, but we were also enabled to follow the migrations of ideas and tribes 
with relative certainty. The tribes of the North Pacific Coast no longer ap- 
pear to us as stable units, lacking any historical development, but we see their 
cultures in constant flux, each people influenced by its nearer and more distant 
neighbors in space and in time. We recognize that from an historical point 
of view, these tribes are far from primitive, and that their beliefs and their 
ways of thinking must not be considered those of the human race in its infancy 
which can be classified unreservedly in an evolutionary series, but that their 
origin is to be sought in the complicated ethnic relations between the tribes." 


ton for redress. When I found that he was unable to 
assist me I apphed to the Department of State at Wash- 
ington. Through them appHcation was made to Berlin 
and St. Petersburg through the American Ambassador, 
but all failed. I finally wrote a letter to the President of 
the St. Petersburg Academy of Science, telling him the 
story and asking for his help. It happened that Duke 
Constantine of Russia was a member of the St. Peters- 
burg Academy and saw my letter, and through him the 
Emperor was made acquainted with the condition of 
things, and the first intimation I had of the result of my 
application was a telegram from the Russian Ambassa- 
dor at Washington that he had been instructed to sign 
Mr. Laufer's passport and to send it on to Washington. 
This special favor was worth all it cost, for it lent the 
authority of his Imperial Majesty to the expedition." 

These are only the most important of Mr. Jesup's 
contributions to the collections of the Museum. For sev- 
eral years he maintained expeditions for the purpose of 
collecting important data regarding the vanishing tribes 
of North American Indians. In 1890 he supported the 
Lumholtz expedition to northern Mexico. From time 
to time he contributed large sums for the development of 
the mineral collections. Among his lesser gifts, too 
numerous to mention, may be singled out the New Zea- 
land and the Rio Negro ethnological and zoological col- 

The rapid growth of the collections rendered additional 
exhibition space imperative. By 1887 the facilities at 
the disposal of the trustees had been outgrown, and an 
addition became necessary. In 1892 the central portion 
of the present southern facade was completed, and 


further additions followed in 1895, 1897, 1899, 1900, 
1905, and 1908. In 1900 the present lecture hall was 
completed and opened to the public with proper cere- 
monies. Thus, by the end of Mr. Jesup's administra- 
tion almost a third of the vast plan approved by the trus- 
tees as early as 1874 had been actually realized. 

The enlargement of the building was matched by a 
corresponding improvement in its exterior surroundings. 
One of the first steps taken by Mr. Jesup was to secure 
from Mr. Frederick Olmsted a plan by which access 
to the Museum was facilitated. A driveway and path 
connected Manhattan Square and Central Park, and a 
roadway at Eighty-first Street and Eighth Avenue opened 
the westerly drive of the Park to Eighth Avenue. The 
filling up of the excavated places was begun and plans 
drawn for the continuous embellishment of the grounds. 
The isolation in which the building had at first stood was 
overcome, and the numbers of visitors steadily increased. 

Even greater changes took place in the interior arrange- 
ments. The conditions described in Mr. Jesup's report 
of 1880 were remedied as rapidly as possible, and the 
appearance of the collections became constantly more 
attractive and instructive. But with this reference we 
have passed already from the primary to the secondary 
problems, from those of acquisition to those of use. 

We may sum up what was accomplished along these 
lines under the four heads already named, of installation, 
advertising, research, and co-operation. 

And first, exhibition. At the time that Mr. Jesup ac- 
cepted the presidency of the Museum such institutions 
were generally unattractive, architecturally repellent, 
dark, dusty, and congested. He promptly insisted upon 


order, cleanliness, and an ample supply of those price- 
less gifts of nature, light and air. To him, a few specimens 
well prepared, well labelled, and well placed were of 
more value than an exhaustive series crowded together in 
dimness and confusion. Probably no feature of the Mu- 
seum is more frequently commented upon by visitors 
from abroad than the feeling of room, light, and cleanli- 
ness which it produces. This result is not an accident. 
It represents a condition which was only attained through 
persistent effort. 

Mr. Jesup's appreciation of the beautiful led to his 
inviting to America Mrs. Mogridge, the artist modeller 
who had been engaged on the preparation of the groups 
of birds in the British Museum. Probably no single de- 
tail of the Museum administration has met with more 
universal popular approval than this innovation, which 
finally led to the installation of those enticing bits of nat- 
ure known as the bird groups. Here the different birds 
are shown under the conditions in which their real life 
is lived. We see the mother with her young, the nest 
hidden away among the reeds, the mother bird searching 
for food, and all the infinite variety of the daily life of 
these fascinating members of the animal creation. 

The experiment so successfully tried with the birds was 
followed with equal success in the case of the mammals, 
and the buffalo, the moose, and other representative ani- 
mals of North America, were exhibited on a large scale amid 
surroundings perfectly modelled after their real habitat. 

We have already spoken of the artistic skill displayed 
in the preparation of the collection of woods and of the 
Jesup collection of economic entomology, of the inter- 
est which Mr. Jesup took in the labelling of the different 


specimens, and his insistence that the information they 
contained should be conveyed in a manner intelligible to 
the casual visitor. Nowhere has this end been more suc- 
cessfully attained than in the department of vertebrate 
paleontology, in which the story of the earlier forms of 
life upon the earth is retold so simply and fully that a 
layman in science can follow. Mention may be made in 
this connection of the interesting imaginative recon- 
structions of these long-vanished denizens of the past 
by Mr. Knight, who has worked out with artistic skill 
suggestions made to him by Professor Osborn. 

Mr. Jesup's interest in the success of the Museum as 
an agency of popular instruction has been more than once 
referred to. He was not content to wait for the people 
to come, he was determined to take every step to bring 
them. To this end various methods of making the work 
of the Museum more widely known were employed. 
As early as 1881 the Museum began the publication of 
simple bulletins describing its recent acquisitions and 
recording the growth which had been made since the last 
issue. These were widely circulated and proved an effec- 
tive means of stimulating popular interest. But the most 
efficient agency was undoubtedly the system of popular 
lectures inaugurated by Professor Bickmore, and since 
developed on a scale unapproached by any other institu- 
tion of a similar kind. Through these lectures the Mu- 
seum attracted within its walls large numbers who would 
not otherwise have come, and not only stimulated intelli- 
gent acquaintance with the objects of exhibition, but 
secured the wide dissemination of information which, 
in turn, added new visitors to its constantly enlarging 


Three further steps taken during Mr. Jesup's adminis- 
tration helped to enlarge the number of visitors to the 
Museum. The first was the abolition of the rule which 
reserved Monday and Tuesday of each week for the 
trustees, the commissioners, and students; the second, 
the provision for evening opening; and the third and most 
important, the decision to open the Museum on Sundays. 

The latter step was not taken without much hesitancy 
on Mr. Jesup's part. It involved a wide departure from 
his own earlier attitude. As late as October, 1885, he 
appeared before the Mayor to protest on behalf of the 
Trustees of the Museum against the proposal that in 
return for an annual appropriation by the city the latter 
should require the Museum to open its doors on Sunday. 
The arguments which he used are familiar. They repre- 
sented the views of a considerable number of earnest 
people who, while abandoning the strictness of the early 
Puritan observance, still held strongly to the necessity of 
preserving by law as well as by custom the barriers which 
divided Sunday from the other six days of the week. 
Sincere friends of the workingman, they honestly believed 
that the policy they advocated was for his interest, and 
some of them, Hke the late Mr. William R. Prime, of the 
Metropolitan Museum of Art, were wiUing to make no 
shght sacrifice in support of their conviction. The policy 
which Mr. Jesup advocated, therefore, was one which 
could command influential support and which probably 
represented the opinion, as he says, of nine-tenths of his 
most intimate friends and associates.* 

* His speech on this occasion, which was afterward printed, was one of the 
best arguments in favor of Sunday closing with which the writer is acquainted. 
After adverting to the additional expense which would be required, expense 
which would necessarily fall upon the trustees, nine-tenths of whom, in Mr. 


When Mr. Jesup appeared before the Mayor to make 
his argument against Sunday opening he was fifty-five 
years old. It is not easy for a man who has reached this 
time of life to alter his position in a matter on which he 
has put himself publicly on record. Yet, Mr. Jesup did 
this with a frankness and unreserve, for which he deserves 
every credit. Closer observation and study brought to 
his notice facts which he had overlooked, or, at least, of 
which he had taken too little account. He came to see 
that it was necessary to discriminate between harmful 
and demorahzing amusements and those that were up- 
lifting and educational. He saw that it was not enough 

Jesup's opinion, were opposed to Sunday opening, and to the fact that it would 
involve extra labor, labor which it would be difficult to secure without the 
permanent employment of an additional force of men trained for the work, Mr. 
Jesup went on to argue that it was not for the interest of the people, especially 
for the workingmen, to open the Museum on Sunday. His position he declared 
to be taken from what he knew "of the workingmen themselves, and of the 
value to them of Sunday as a day of rest from toil and labor, of the many in- 
fluences that tend to rob them of it, as well as from what has taken place 
in the countries of Europe." He declared that it was the popular reverence 
for the day as a non-secular day which was its main defence as a rest-day. 
" Break down this popular rev^ence for the day as a holy day, destroy this 
distinction between it and the week-days, and it will inevitably become a work- 
ing day. This is especially true in a country like ours, where competition is so 
severe and exacting." "Open the Museum on Sunday," declared Mr. Jesup, 
"and it will be impossible to stop there." Other so-called instructive recrea- 
tions and entertainments will follow. The theatres and the operas, the circuses 
and the minstrel shows, must also be allowed, and the end will be the Parisian 
Sunday. Mr. Jesup met the argument that workingmen have no time but Sunday 
in which to visit the museums by calling attention to the six or eight legal holidays 
of the year, to the occasional oflF days which occur in every trade, and to the Sat- 
urday half holiday, with the movement to secure which he was in fullest sym- 
pathy. "I believe," he said, "that what our workingmen want is more time for 
rest and intelligent recreation during the week. If merchants and manufact- 
urers and business men of this city could be induced to give their employees a 
Saturday half holiday, this would give time for laboring men to visit the muse- 
ums without opening on Sunday. Open the museums on Sunday and you weak- 
en the motive for extending the Saturday half holiday, and otherwise shortening 
the hours of labor." He concluded by calling attention to the experience of 
England and citing an impressive array of witnesses in favor of Sunday obser- 
vance from that country. 


to repress; you must provide an outlet for the fund of 
energy which the Sunday holiday leaves idle. He recog- 
nized that a policy which allowed the rich to enjoy pictures 
and works of art in their own homes on Sunday, while it 
denied the poor the privilege of similar recreation in the 
public galleries, to the support of which they contribute 
by taxation, was an intolerable discrimination. Accord- 
ingly, only two years later we find him withdrawing his 
opposition and co-operating with the city authorities in 
carrying out the policy which he had hitherto opposed. 

Mr. Jesup never regretted this action. Speaking with 
a friend some years later he said: 

"For a long time I stoutly opposed opening the city 
museums on Sundays. That measure was finally carried 
with my personal vote in the affirmative, and I have 
learned to be grateful that the step was taken. It has 
been a satisfaction to me to watch the weekly returns 
registered in the museums of the Sunday afternoon attend- 
ance, knowing that it is made up of persons who are too 
busy to enjoy these pleasures on other days. I frankly 
acknowledge my opposition to the plan originally to have 
been caused by ignorance pure and simple. I believe 
ignorance to be at the bottom of all wrong opposition to 
right things. There is a deep truth in the saying that 'to 
understand is to forgive,' and often to approve." 

But Mr. Jesup' s conception of the function of the 
Museum was not confined to popular instruction. More 
than once in the course of this chapter reference has been 
made to his interest in the scientific work of the Museum. 
As we have seen, Professor Osborn refers to this as one 
of the outstanding features of his administration. The 
function of the Museum, as he saw it, was not simply 


to popularize knowledge, but to add to its sum. He re- 
garded it as part of the educational system of the country 
in the widest sense, including under the term pure as 
well as applied science. He was not content to put its 
resources at the disposal of scholars; he wished to see 
the staff themselves contribute to the progress of scholar- 
ship. He regarded time spent in this kind of work as well 
spent, and was anxious to put the best possible facilities 
at the disposal of the workers. This motive led, as we 
have seen, to the undertaking by the Museum of sys- 
tematic exploration on its own account, the object being 
not merely to secure materials for exhibition purposes, 
but to gather objects of study and to solve problems in 
the field of ethnology and natural history which had 
hitherto defied solution. Side by side with the collections 
for exhibition, ample study collections were added and 
facilities provided for their use by such scholars as de- 
sired to avail themselves of them. The library was de- 
veloped and enlarged until to-day it numbers no less 
than forty thousand volumes and twenty thousand 
pamphlets, covering all the fields with which the 
Museum deals, and putting at the service of its workers 
the results of the latest work of specialists in all these 

With increased facilities for research were developed 
also means for making known to the public the results 
gained by research. The Bulletin, designed for the popu- 
lar reader, was succeeded by the Journal, a more schol- 
arly publication designed to embody the work of the staff 
in the department of pure science. Valuable monographs 
on zoology and paleontology appeared from time to 
time, until to-day the publications of th€ Museum take 


their place with those of the great universities as an es- 
sential part of the equipment of the modern naturahst 
and ethnologist. 

One happy incident in the course of this steady develop- 
ment deserves special mention. On December 29, 1906, 
a large and representative audience gathered in the lect- 
ure room of the Museum to witness the presentation to 
the Trustees of the series of busts of eminent American 
naturalists which now adorns the spacious anteroom 
through which visitors approach the Museum. The 
idea was Mr. Jesup's, and he provided the funds. The 
gift fitly symbolizes his conception of the part played by 
science in the complex circle of interests, of whose joint 
efforts the Museum is the expression. To a friend who 
was sitting by his side at a meeting of the American 
Association for the Advancement of Science, at which 
the speaker paid a tribute to the pioneers whose work he 
had helped to commemorate, he said: "I am glad that 
I was able to do this for the men who have devoted their 
lives to science." 

One further feature ^ of Mr. Jesup's administration 
still remains to be mentioned, and that is the pains which 
he took to bring about an effective co-operation between 
the Museum and the other educational institutions of 
the country. One of the first bodies with which the Mu- 
seum entered into relations was the New York State 
Survey. Not only were its collections housed by the 
Museum, but the Museum's workshops were put at the 
disposal of its members. For many years cordial sym- 
pathy and co-operation obtained between the two in- 
stitutions. Later, connections were made with Columbia 
University and the University of New York, as well as 


with the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Zoological 
Park, and the Botanical Garden. The hospitality of the 
Museum was cordially extended to the New York Acad- 
emy of Sciences, the Linnaean Society, the New York 
Botanical Society, and kindred organizations. The offi- 
cers of the Museum were frequently permitted to devote 
some of their time to university teaching, and the names 
of university officers were as frequently found upon the 
scientific staff of the Museum. The Museum was the 
birthplace of the Audubon Society. It became the meet- 
ing place of the Anthropological Society. Here convened 
in 1873 the International Congress of Humanists; here 
was held the Ecumenical Congress, and the Seventh In- 
ternational Congress of Zoology. 

Most significant of all were the relations that existed 
between the Museum and the public schools. Lectures 
designed for teachers and public lectures given in co- 
operation with the Board of Education had been de- 
livered for several years, when it occurred to the president 
that greater integration with the schools might be estab- 
lished. Accordingly, in 1904 lectures for school-children 
were begun, and in the following year more than seven- 
teen thousand pupils came to the Museum, many walk- 
ing miles that they might profit by Hstening to those who 
were announced to lecture on various natural history 
topics germane to the regular public school work. About 
the same time the president further extended the use- 
fulness of the Museum by preparing small collections 
which were sent into all parts of the city to supplement 
in the school buildings the regular work of the schools, 
and thus to assist those who were unable to visit the 
Museum. When it is reaHzed that within thirty weeks a 


single one of these collections has been studied by nearly 
five thousand school-children, and that at times there 
have been more than four hundred collections in circu- 
lation, one is in a position to estimate at its true value 
this phase of the Museum's activity. 

The spirit of co-operation which characterized Mr. 
Jesup's administration found fitting expression in a speech 
which he delivered at the twenty-fifth anniversary of 
the neighboring Museum of Art. "I feel sure, Mr. 
President," he began, "that it is your kindly interest in 
the sister museum, over which I have the honor to pre- 
side, which has led you to select me to say a few words 
on this occasion. Our respective museums were born 
about the same time. I well remember the circumstances 
which surrounded their infancy. There were compara- 
tively few then who felt any interest in art and natural 
history and science. It was very difficult to arouse popu- 
lar interest and enthusiasm in such enterprises as ours. 
Our beginnings were modest and our support limited. 
Many of those who bore the burden and anxiety of these 
early days have passed away. Would that they were 
here to witness the wonderful growth and prosperity 
which we, their associates, now behold. Great credit 
was due to your late President, J. Taylor Johnston, 
for what he accomplished for the Museum over which you 
now so worthily preside. Neither should we forget John 
David Wolfe and Robert L. Stuart, the former Presidents 
of the American Museum of Natural History, now gone 
from our sight. These men will ever be gratefully re- 
membered not only by us, but by the city whose interests 
they so much loved and helped to serve. It must be a 
great joy to you, and to us all to witness the present 


position and conditions of these two museums, and to 
know that they have been such important factors in all 
that is elevating in the life of this good metropolis, and 
through it, in the life of the whole country." Mr. Jesup 
went on to paint a picture of what the future would hold 
when these museums, "now only in their infancy, shall 
have attained the age of the present museums of Europe," 
and to pay a tribute to the authorities of the city for 
generous and consistent support. 

In his report of the same year he thus sums up the 
growth of the Museum during the twenty-five years of 
his administration: 

In concluding this my quarter of a century of service 
as President of the American Museum of Natural History, 
I cannot refrain from referring to the Report of twenty- 
five years ago, when the Trustees stated that "they most 
respectfully appeal to the generous citizens of New York, 
to aid in the effort to make our Metropolitan City the 
centre of the highest scientific culture in our land, and to 
join in adding new collections and new departments to 
the admirable nucleus which has been already secured." 
As your President it has been my constant effort to fulfil 
the desires, as expressed by the Trustees, which were so 
clearly formulated at the time of my appointment, and 
when we view the stately building in Manhattan Square, 
when we wander through the exhibition halls and study 
the priceless collections therein displayed, when we realize 
that thousands of the people of our City are assembling 
here to listen to prominent educators, that school-children 
are here receiving their first love for nature and their first 
taste of science, and that the influence of this institution 
is being felt throughout the civilized world, truly we can 
say that the appeal of 1881 to the generous citizens of 
New York has not remained unanswered. 


This great result was, of course, not due to Mr. Jesup 
alone. Many factors co-operated to produce the magnif- 
icent success attained. Were it our purpose here to 
tell the story of the Museum in its fulness, we should 
have to record the loyal support which Mr. Jesup received 
from his trustees, and their generous contributions of 
time and money, the devoted service of the members of 
the staff whose achievements in science and research 
have lent distinction to the Museum, and the liberality 
of the generous citizens of New York which Mr. Jesup 
himself so appreciatively recognized. But every great 
cause must have a leader, and Mr. Jesup's fellow-workers 
in the Museum would be the first to admit that to his wise 
and far-sighted leadership the great success which their 
joint efforts attained was primarily due. 

"I suppose," says Mr. Choate, his fellow founder and 
trustee, speaking some years later at the Chamber of 
Commerce, "that I may speak with authority of Mr. 
Jesup's services to the world in the Museum of Natural 
History; for it was not merely to that corporation, it was 
not merely to the citizens of New York who enjoy the 
benefit of what he has given and done there, but to the 
world at large, that the benefits of his labors in that direc- 
tion extended. I say I may speak with authority because 
I believe that Mr. Morgan and I are the only surviving 
associates who, with him, assisted in the organization 
of that institution. I do not think it can be said that 
Mr. Jesup was the creator of the Museum. I should 
hardly venture in the presence of Mr. Morgan to claim 
for him a monopoly of the generosity that endowed that 
institution from the beginning; nor would I forget the 
abundant aid of many other generous benefactors; but I 


will say that he was the chief factor, the most powerful 
and effective agent in bringing it to the great eminence 
that it enjoys to-day." 

This great service was fitly signalized by his fellow 
trustees on February 12, 1906, when in commemoration of 
the twenty-fifth anniversary of his presidency, they pre- 
sented to him a loving cup beautifully designed in gold, 
with inscriptions and symbols in allusion to those branches 
of science in which he had taken a special interest. On 
one face of the cup reference was made to the forestry of 
North America; on another his interest in vertebrate pale- 
ontology was indicated, and his gift of the Cope collection 
of fishes, amphibians, and reptiles was mentioned; on the 
third face was a design symbolizing the work of the Jesup 
North Pacific expeditions, the last and greatest of the en- 
terprises toward which his efforts were directed. 

To this tribute of the trustees we may add the following 
extracts from the words of the two men who stood closest 
to him in the executive work of the Museum, President 
Osborn and Director Bumpus. 

"In the death of Morris K. Jesup," writes President 
Osborn, "science in America has lost one of its wisest 
supporters and most liberal benefactors. Mr. Jesup's 
name has been closely associated in our minds with the 
American Museum of Natural History, and it is true 
that during his presidency of twenty-seven years his chief 
interests have been centred there, but his enthusiasm in 
the cause of education and of science reached far beyond 
the bounds of the City of New York; in fact, it is doubt- 
ful if there has ever lived in America or any other country 
a man trained originally for business who developed more 
universal sympathies and interests. The most northerly 


promontory of the Arctic bears his name; he was in- 
strumental in exploration of the extreme south; as presi- 
dent of the Syrian College at Beirut his influence has been 
felt through the Orient, and expeditions, made possible 
through his generosity, have investigated many scientific 
problems in the west. 

" It is not possible to review or summarize here all the 
different directions in which Mr. Jesup was led by his 
keen sense of the duties of citizenship. He was a man 
who had a strong civic pride; he believed in American 
ideas and in American men, and was ever willing to sacri- 
fice his own interests to those of the community. He 
was an idealist, an optimist, and keenly patriotic. He 
was sanguine, determined, forceful, trustful, apprecia- 
tive and even affectionate toward those closely associated 
with him." 

"It is not because of the long period of his service," 
writes Professor Bumpus, "nor because of his unfailing 
devotion, nor yet because of his innumerable gifts, that 
Mr. Jesup's administration of the affairs of the American 
Museum of Natural History will mark a distinct epoch in 
the history of this institution. 

"Scientific and educational institutions frequently have 
enjoyed the continuous service of administrative offi- 
cers for much longer periods of time; unfailing devotion 
has not always resulted in administrative efficiency; and 
the mere act of giving, even if repeatedly recurrent, has 
not always benefited the recipient. 

"It is because he served long and also well; it is be- 
cause he was devoted and at the same time exercised good 
judgment; it is because he not only gave but gave wisely, 
that he finally enjoyed the fruit of his labor, that his 


devotion to the Museum ripened into absorbing affection, 
and that his example of giving infected those associated 
with him." 

Mr. Jesup's interest in the Museum did not cease 
with his death. In his will he left a million dollars to the 
Permanent Endowment Fund, accompanying the be- 
quest with the following words: 

I give and bequeath to The American Museum of 
Natural History in the City of New York One million 
dollars (;S5 1,000,000) to constitute a permanent fund, the 
principal to be invested and kept invested, and the in- 
come to be applied and appropriated to the general pur- 
poses of the Museum, other than alterations, additions, 
repairs or erection of buildings, the purchase of land or 
the payment of salaries, or for labor or for services of any 
kind, ordinarily considered under the item of mainte- 

I wish to explain that I have bequeathed this sum of 
One million dollars (;? 1,000,000) to The American Museum 
of Natural History, and that I have made for it the other 
bequests and provisions contained in my Will because of 
the fact that I have been identified with the Museum from 
its Act of Incorporation to the present time. I have 
been its President since 1882. Since that time I have 
devoted a great part of my life, my time, my thoughts 
and my attention to its interests. I believe it to be to- 
day one of the most effective agencies which exist in The 
City of New York for furnishing education, innocent 
amusement and instruction to the people. It can be 
immensely increased in its usefulness by increasing its 
powers. The City of New York, under its contract with 
the Museum, is to provide buildings and to maintain 
them, but the buildings must be filled with specimens. 
This means that for the purpose, the necessary amount 
must come from individual donors. It is in order that 


the means for this purpose may be helped, as the Mu- 
seum must grow in additional buildings by the City, and 
in view of its great possibilities for the future, that I 
make for the Museum the bequests and provisions con- 
tained in my Will, relying upon the Trustees of the Mu- 
seum to do their share, by looking after the investment 
of the funds, the use of its income and by carefully watch- 
ing over, and wisely planning for the best interests of 
this great institution. 



^npHE visitor to the Museum who enters the spacious 
-*- antechamber in which are installed the busts of 
distinguished scientists, already referred to, notices several 
large masses of metal weighing several tons each, whose 
curious shape and appearance at once excite his curiosity. 
On approaching them and studying the labels he dis- 
covers that they are meteorites from Greenland, and that 
they were brought to the Museum by Commander Peary 
on his return from his expedition to that country in 1897. 
The story of this expedition and of its sequel introduces 
us to one of the most interesting episodes in Mr. Jesup's 
career, namely, the part which he took in the discovery 
of the North Pole. 

Mr. Jesup describes his first meeting with Peary in the 
following words: "Ever since the Kane expedition, 
which took place under the backing of Henry Grinnell, I 
had been more or less interested in arctic exploration. 
Through my presidency of the Museum my attention has 
been called in many ways to research and investigation 
in all parts of our country and of the world, so that I have 
been prepared in thought and mind to receive favorably 
any one who wished to talk to me on any subject con- 



nected with science and research. When therefore some 
nine years ago a card bearing the name Mrs. Robert 
E. Peary, was presented to me at my office in the Museum, 
with the request for an interview, it was readily granted. 
At that time Mr. Peary had been for over a year in the 
arctic regions, and Mrs. Peary had been there with him, 
but had returned leaving her husband in Greenland to 
continue his explorations for another year. Mrs. Peary 
had promised her husband to see to it that in the follow- 
ing year an expedition should be sent to relieve him and 
bring him home, and the time was now approaching when 
this promise must be fulfilled. It was in the hope of secur- 
ing assistance in the fulfilment of this promise that Mrs. 
Peary sought an interview with me. It is unnecessary 
for me to enter into details. Suffice it to say that I could 
not resist the appeal of a sweet woman and I agreed to 
give her the help she desired. She sent the ship, found 
Mr. Peary where he said he would be and brought him 
home. The ship also brought valuable specimens for the 
Museum, which are now on exhibition. Through this 
little adventure I was brought into close relationship with 
Mr. Peary and was led to admire his courage, pluck, 
perseverance, and loyalty." 

The nature of the meeting to which Mr. Jesup so 
briefly refers, was so romantic and its consequences so 
important that the reader will appreciate the fuller ac- 
count which has been supplied by the other most impor- 
tant actor, Mrs. Peary herself. "In 1893 I went north 
with my husband, who had undertaken work upon the 
delimitation of the boundaries of Greenland. A vessel 
was to have called for us two years later, but through 
some mistake instead of coming in 1895, it arrived in 


1894. Commander Peary, feeling that his work was 
not yet done, was unwilling to return, and accordingly I 
came back alone with my little daughter born in the 
north, leaving him to complete his work in the faith 
that some way would be found to bring him home. This, 
however, proved no easy matter to accomplish. All our 
funds had been exhausted by this trip of the ship, and 
as I was at that time living in Washington with my baby 
and an Eskimo nurse on an income of about seventy-five 
dollars a month, there seemed little prospect of my secur- 
ing enough for another voyage north. In this emergency 
Judge Daly, of the Geographic Society of New York, 
promised one thousand dollars on behalf of the Society, 
provided I could secure similar co-operation from other 
societies and learned institutions. He asked me if I 
knew Mr. Morris K. Jesup, of the American Museum of 
Natural History, stating that he was a man whose help 
would be useful to me if his interest could be secured. 
It was a time when every dollar was precious to me, but 
necessity knows no law and accordingly I undertook the 
journey to New York, where an interview with Mr. Jesup 
had been arranged for me by a friend. I shall never for- 
get the reluctance with which I undertook my journey. 
Every mile that the train progressed I wished were a mile 
in the opposite direction. When I reached the friend's 
house in New York it was nine o'clock. He was still at 
breakfast and, as I waited for him to join me, I wished 
that the meal might never be completed. My interview 
with him was not entirely reassuring. 'If Mr. Jesup is 
interested in you,' he said, as we talked on our way to 
the Museum, *no one could possibly be kinder than he 
will be, but if he is not interested, you must be prepared 


to find him very abrupt/ Imagine my feelings then 
when on reaching the Museum I was ushered into a room 
filled with gentlemen who, as I afterward learned, belonged 
to the Board of Directors. I had no idea which of them 
was Mr. Jesup, but I was reassured to find that I was 
not the only woman in the room, for Mr. Jesup, fearing 
that I might be ill at ease under such circumstances, had 
very considerately asked Mrs. Jesup to come with him, 
and she was standing by one of the windows during our 
interview. Mr. Jesup, whom I soon recognized from 
his commanding presence, broached the subject of my 
mission at once by saying: *I hear that you are getting 
up a relief expedition for the farthest north, is that not 
rather an unusual undertaking for a woman .? Tell me 
all about it and what your plans are.' In reply I began 
to tell him under what circumstances my husband had 
been left on the coast of Greenland, and explained my 
plan of bringing him back. I remember that while I was 
still talking, Mrs. Jesup approached and said to her hus- 
band in an undertone: *What would you think of my 
inviting her to lunch with us to-morrow?' Mr. Jesup 
said Yes immediately. I saw my hotel bill mounting in 
spite of me, but there was nothing to be done but to stay, 
and never were dollars better expended. As a result of 
my next day's interview with Mr. Jesup, I received from 
him the promise of another thousand dollars toward my 
relief fund, nor was this all. Mr. Jesup gave me en- 
couragement that was worth more than money. He said 
to me : 'I believe that you are doing all you can to raise 
this money, and I don't want you to do any less, but if 
you do not succeed in raising it all, come back to me 
again. You must understand that while I am interested 


in the scientific aspects of your expedition, my chief in- 
terest is that I want you to get your husband back/ '* 

The story of Mrs. Peary's efforts to secure the seven 
thousand dollars which still remained; of the tribulations 
with which she met when one of the scientists who was to 
have represented a contributing institution, died, and the 
college withdrew its pledge; of how she plucked up her 
courage and made up the deficit by giving two public 
illustrated lectures — this is not the place to tell. Suffice 
it to say that through Mr. Jesup's assistance the fund was 
completed at last, and Commander Peary brought home 
in safety. With Mrs. Peary he called upon Mr. Jesup 
and, with the meeting, there began a friendship which 
continued unbroken until Mr. Jesup's death. Mr. Jesup 
trusted Mr. Peary at once and never withdrew his trust. 
He used his efforts to secure for Mr. Peary an extension 
of his leave of absence, in order that he might have the 
rest which he needed after his over-strain, and among 
his papers is a letter from Mrs. Peary expressing in 
feeling terms her appreciation of what this service meant 
to her and her husband. When in the following year he 
returned to Greenland, to complete his exploration, Mr. 
Jesup took an active interest in his work and, in the 
co-operation thus begun, the seeds were sown which 
bore fruit in later years in the discovery of the Pole. 

During Commander Peary's stay in Greenland in 1894 
he obtained from the Eskimos the precise location of a 
so-called "iron mountain," which various expeditions 
since 18 18 had endeavored unsuccessfully to discover, 
and, on visiting the place, discovered the famous group of 
meteorites which now adorn the antechamber of the 
Museum, one of them the largest in the world . Some of the 


smaller of them he brought home with him on his return 
in 1895, but the larger proved too heavy to transport. On 
his subsequent expedition the attempt was renewed, and 
this time successfully. The great masses of metal were 
transported over the intervening snow and ice, safely 
launched upon the ship, to find their way at last to the 
Museum which had provided the funds for the enterprise. 
With them came also a mass of material illustrating the 
natural history and ethnology of Greenland, and from 
that time on, the Museum has reaped the fruit of the 
work of exploration carried on by the successive Peary 

How rich that fruit was and how highly Mr. Jesup 
rated Commander Peary's services along this line appears 
from the following characteristic letter which he wrote 
to the Chief of the Bureau of Yards and Docks of the 
Navy Department in Washington, March 9, 1897. When 
Commander Peary returned, he was assigned to duty in 
the Brooklyn Navy Yard, where he was in easy communi- 
cation with the Museum, and his services in connection 
with the arrangement of the material which he had brought 
back proved invaluable. Mr. Jesup learned that it was 
the intention of the Department to transfer Mr. Peary 
elsewhere, and accordingly, wrote as follows: 

March 9, 1897. 
Chief of Bureau, Yards and Docks, 

Navy Department, Washington, D. C. 
My Dear Sir: 

I beg to preface my letter by stating that I have re- 
ceived an intimation of the possibility of the assignment 
of Civil Engineer Robert E. Peary to duty in another 
city, and I am moved to ask your kind offices for his re- 
tention at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. 


Briefly, permit me to state that I have had an extended 
association with Mr. Peary, and have been earnestly 
impressed with his work, a very important part of which, 
I may add, was carried on under personal relations with 
myself, and the outcome of which enterprise brought to 
the institution of which I have the honor to be President, 
one of the most important and comprehensive collections 
of Greenland materials. It would not strengthen this 
statement to endeavor to enumerate the number of the 
specimens, but I may dismiss it by explaining that the 
Museum thereby became possessed of material which 
places it in the front rank of similar collections, and this 
has been augmented since by large accessions from other 
portions of Greenland and Hudson Bay during 1896. 

To have an intimation that Mr. Peary might be de- 
tailed to a distant city, where it would be impossible to 
have the benefit of his important advice, has given us 
serious concern; not only would it detract from the edu- 
cational value of the collections so far as it relates to the 
public, but it would result in the loss of many data, valua- 
ble alike to the scientist and the country. I will cite but 
one instance of the many in mind. It is proposed to set 
up a winter and a summer representation of the Eskimo 
camp, with life-size groups and complete accessories; 
those groups will possess extreme interest for every visitor 
to the building. Without the advice and the knowledge 
of Mr. Peary, we would be very much hampered in its 
preparation. Beyond this, there is the valuable infor- 
mation he has acquired, which is needed in the forma- 
tion of labels for the objects. I feel convinced that you 
will appreciate the position I take in the matter, without 
going more into detail, and you will pardon me, I hope, 
in conclusion, for earnestly urging upon you the wish 
of my associate trustees (whose names are attached) that 
if a change is contemplated for Mr. Peary, you will con- 
sider favorably our appeal to retain him at least for the 
present in the assignment to duty in Brooklyn. 


I believe that the Navy Department is deeply inter- 
ested in everything that pertains to science, or that which 
will conduce to the public good, and I beg to assure 
you that your kindly aid and co-operation in our present 
needs will be gratefully appreciated. 
I have the honor to remain. 

Yours very sincerely, 
(Signed) Morris K. Jesup, President} 

The interest which Mr. Jesup expresses in Mr. Peary 
in this letter continued unabated until his death. As 
time went on, the two men were drawn closer and closer 
together, and Mr. Jesup, whose connection had been 
simply that of a friendly adviser in his work of explora- 
tion, became his foremost advocate and support in the 
more ambitious scheme to which he soon turned. When, 
in 1898, he obtained leave from President McKinley to 
prosecute further exploration in the North, and was ob- 
liged to address himself to the task of providing ways 
and means, Mr. Jesup was the first to be called upon. 
His response was what might have been expected. A 
meeting of the subscribers to the guarantee fund was 
held in his office in Pine Street in January, 1899. This 
was the birth of the Peary Arctic Club, the inception and 
organization of which was entirely Mr. Jesup's idea, and 
his alone. Mr. Jesup was unanimously chosen President 
of the Club, an office which he held until his death. 

The expedition of 1898, which had been originally 
planned for three years, extended to a fourth, and dur- 
ing this whole time Mr. Jesup's interest was continuous, 
his connection with the details constant, and his counsel 

^The application proved unsuccessful, although the Department, at Mr. Jesup's 
request, granted a brief extension of time. Mr. Jesup's persistence in the mat- 
ter is shown by the fact that he carried his appeal to the Secretary of the Navy. 


and supervision of affairs unremitting. The cost of the 
auxiliary Diana and Eric expeditions, the repairs and re- 
engining of the Club's first steamer Windward, were all 
practically underwritten by Mr. Jesup, and in further 
details the Club had the benefit of his resources, both in 
credit and experience, and in counsel. 

In connection with the work of this expedition Com- 
mander Peary had already begun to develop his plans 
for an attack upon the Pole. When these were explained 
to Mr. Jesup he heartily responded. From the first he 
believed in the possibility of the enterprise and had con- 
fidence in the man who proposed it. When his friends 
remonstrated with him for wasting his time and his 
money on a useless quest, he used to respond: "I trust 
Peary, I believe he will find the Pole.'* 

This faith found practical expression in connection 
with the preparations for Commander Peary's next ex- 
pedition, which took place in 1905. In order to facilitate 
this the Peary Club was regularly incorporated under 
the laws of the State, and preparations for active work 
begun. With Mr. Jesup's sanction, and entirely upon 
his responsibility, contracts were made for building the 
Club's steamer, the Roosevelt. Mr. Jesup followed all 
the details of construction, and himself closed the con- 
tract with the contractor. The last stop made by the 
Roosevelt before its voyage for the North was at Bar 
Harbor, Mr. Jesup's summer home, where he himself 
visited the ship and bade the intrepid voyager Godspeed. 

The story of this voyage is well known, and need not 
here be rehearsed. When Commander Peary returned 
after his arduous efforts, having attained latitude 87° 6', 
which was at that time farthest North, and left Mr. 


Jesup's name upon the northernmost point of land in 
the world, many of Mr. Jesup's friends believed that 
he had done all that could wisely be done in this direction, 
and urged him to turn his energy to other things. Even 
his old friends in the Peary Arctic Club began to waver, 
and it may be said with truth that the only two men 
who still believed in the possibility of a successful com- 
pletion of the enterprise were Commander Peary and Mr. 
Jesup himself. He, however, never wavered. By his 
counsel, and largely through his means, plans for another 
expedition were formulated, the expedition which, as we 
all know, was at last crowned with success. 

For Mr. Jesup himself the triumph came too late. 
While Mr. Peary was still engaged in his preparations — 
preparations delayed for a full year through the failure 
of the contractors to whom the refitting of the Roosevelt 
had been committed to complete their repairs on time — 
the news came to him that the tried friend on whose 
support he had hitherto all along relied had been called on 
a longer journey. "It was the heaviest calamity," he 
writes, "which I had encountered in all my arctic work. 
Without Mr. Jesup's promised help the future expedition 
seemed impossible. In him I lost not only a man who 
was financially a tower of strength in the work, but I lost 
an intimate personal friend in whom I had absolute trust. 
For a time I felt as if this was the end of everything; 
that all the time and money put into the project had 
been wasted. Mr. Jesup's death, coming on top of the 
delay caused by the default of the contractors, seemed 
at first an absolutely paralyzing defeat." ^ 

But the project had gone too far to be allowed to fail. 

^ Hampton's Magazine, January, 1910, p. 13. 


Mr. Jesup's friends in the Arctic Club, "the old guard 
who had stood shoulder to shoulder with him from its 
inception, now stood firm to keep the organization of 
the Club intact. General Hubbard accepted the presi- 
dency and added a second large check to his already 
generous contribution. Other men came forward and 
the crisis was passed." The preparations went on as 
had been originally planned, and on July 6, 1908, the 
Roosevelt steamed slowly away from her berth beside 
the recreation pier at the foot of East Twenty-fourth 
Street, on the expedition which was at last to be crowned 
with success. 

From the guests who gathered on board the Roosevelt 
to wish its crew Godspeed, one face was missing. When 
after herculean efforts the coveted goal was reached at 
last, the one thought that robbed the triumph of its com- 
plete satisfaction was the knowledge that Mr. Jesup was 
no longer living to share it. The little snow camp which 
sheltered the weary travellers during the few hours 
which they were able to spend at the Pole, was named 
Camp Jesup as the expression of a grateful appreciation, 
possible in no other way; and when communication was 
established on the return journey the same wire which 
bore the first news of the discovery of the Pole carried a 
message to Mrs. Jesup expressing Mr. Peary's grief that 
Mr. Jesup would not be there to welcome him on his 
home-coming and to share the joy of the achievement. 

What Mr. Peary thought of Mr. Jesup's services to 
arctic exploration may be learned from the closing words 
of the article in which he gave the public the first account 
of the expedition which reached the Pole : 

"All the dearly bought years of experience, the mag- 


nificent strength of the Roosevelt, the splendid energy 
and enthusiasm of my party, the loyal faithfulness of my 
Eskimos, would have gone for naught, but for the neces- 
saries of war furnished so loyally by the members of the 
Peary Arctic Club ; and it is no detraction from the living 
to say that to no single individual has this result been more 
signally due than to my friend, the late Morris K. Jesup, 
the first President of the Club/' 

On Wednesday, February 9, 19 10, a distinguished 
company met in the Museum to witness the unveiling of a 
statue of Mr. Jesup by Mr. Couper. In the course of 
Mr. Choate's tribute to his old friend and fellow trustee, 
he read the following letter from Commander Peary. 

February 9, 19 10. 
Dear Sir: 

It is with the deepest regret that I am obliged to say 
that an engagement in another city which cannot be post- 
poned, will make it impossible for me to be present this 
afternoon on the occasion of the unveiling of the statue of 
my friend, Morris K. Jesup. 

His breadth of mind and character is perhaps in no way 
indicated more clearly than by the wide range of his 
interests, as shown by the two projects in which his heart 
was most deeply centred, the future of the American 
Museum of Natural History, and the discovery of the 
North Pole. 

The fact that such a big, broad, practical mind as his 
should take up with such deep and steadfast interest the 
question of North Pole efforts, proved to me conclusively 
that my own conviction of the value of those efforts was 

To Morris K. Jesup, more than to any other one man, 
is due the fact that the North Pole is to-day a trophy of 
this country. 


His faith and support carried me past many a dead 
centre of discouragement amounting almost to despair. 

Friend of unswerving faith, adviser of keen, long- 
headed ability, backer of princely generosity, he was first 
in my thoughts when I reached that goal of the centuries, 
first in my thoughts on my return, and my ever present 
regret is and has been that he could not have stayed with 
us a little longer to see the realization of his faith. 

(Signed) R. E. Peary, U. S. N. 

President Henry Fairfield Osborn, 
American Museum of Natural History, 



'IXT'ITH the account of Mr. Jesup's presidency of the 
Museum we have finished the story of his public 
service, but there was another side to his life which it is 
necessary to add in order to complete the picture of the 
man, and that is the side which was revealed in his home. 
The more intimate features of this picture it would, of 
course, be out of place for us to attempt to reproduce here, 
but so much of himself as he showed to those friends 
who enjoyed his confidence and shared his hospitality 
may properly form a part of our record. 

Mr. Jesup was married on April 26, 1854, to Maria 
Van Antwerp De Witt, second daughter of the Reverend 
Dr. Thomas De Witt, at that time Minister of the Colle- 
giate Church of New York. The acquaintance of the 
families had begun some years before when Dr. De 
Witt had been called in to conduct the funeral service of 
one of Mr. Jesup's sisters. A member of an old Dutch 
family, he occupied a prominent place in the ministerial 
life of New York. Among many other good works, he 
was President of the City Mission Society, into which 
he introduced his future son-in-law. The relation between 
the two men became an intimate one, and the esteem and 


reverence in which Mr. Jesup held his father-in-law was 
fitly expressed in his gift of the De Witt Memorial Church, 
already described in a preceding chapter. 

Mr. and Mrs. Jesup became engaged in the fall of 1853. 
They spent the first year of their married life with Mrs. 
Jesup's father, and then took a house in Nineteenth 
Street, where they lived for ten years. Later they re- 
moved to their present home at No. 197 Madison Avenue. 
When his expanding interests rendered more room 
necessary Mr. Jesup bought the adjoining house. No. 
195, and united the two. Here as time went on he gath- 
ered about him a store of interesting and beautiful objects 
which will always be associated with him in the thoughts 
of those whose privilege it was to enter its walls. Here 
he welcomed his friends, as the years went on, and from 
this centre in an increasing degree radiated a stream 
of beneficent influences which touched all parts of the 
country and extended across the sea. 

The sharp division which some men draw between 
home and business did not exist for Mr. Jesup. He 
carried his work home with him and welcomed to his 
intimacy those who were associated with him in it. It 
would be interesting to recall the important enterprises 
which had their inception under his roof. Here, as we 
have seen, was held the meeting which led to the formation 
of the Society for the Prevention of Vice. Here was given 
the dinner which inaugurated the formation of the Slater 
Fund. Here met the Committee of Five, which marks the 
beginning of the movement for clean streets in the City of 
New York. Here was held one of the first meetings which 
led to the formation of the American Museum of Natural 
History. Here Mrs. Peary explained her plan for the 


expedition which was to bring her husband back from 
the north. Here too were welcomed from time to time 
men prominent in public life and in charitable and phil- 
anthropic work. When Baron Kaneko came here on his 
momentous mission Mr. Jesup's was one of the homes 
in which he received a friendly welcome. When Sir 
Purdon Clarke came from South Kensington to assume 
the directorship of the Metropolitan Museum one of the 
first to extend him welcome was Mr. Jesup. The list 
of those who from first to last shared his hospitality- 
would include a surprisingly large proportion of those 
best worth knowing both in this country and across the 
sea during the last fifty years. 

Those whose privilege it was to enjoy this hospitality 
carried away a very vivid picture of the man who was 
their host. Every true home is the expression of person- 
ality, and Mr. Jesup's was no exception. The pictures 
on the walls had their own story to tell, and the books on 
the shelves their own contribution to make. 

One of these pictures deserves more than a passing 
mention. It was called "A Summer Afternoon," and 
represented a broad expanse of woodland and meadow 
lying mellow and golden under the rays of the declining 
sun. When Mr. Jesup was a young man he used to walk 
from his home to his office, and his path took him past 
a picture-dealer's store, in the window of which this 
picture was hanging. To the country boy, longing for the 
freedom of woods and fields, in the midst of which he 
had been brought up, it appealed with an irresistible 
fascination, and many a time as he stopped in his walk to 
look at it he used to think how happy he would be if he 
could ever own it. Years afterward when his circum- 


stances had improved and he was established in business 
for himself he came across the picture again and, though 
the price was high and there were other uses to which he 
had intended to put his money, the desire to possess it 
proved too strong and, before he realized it, the transac- 
tion was completed and the coveted prize on its way to 
his own home. 

The picture had many successors, but each was chosen 
with the same care. Great names were represented in the 
collection, from Rembrandt down, but they were not chosen 
for the sake of the name, but because the subject ap- 
pealed to Mr. Jesup for its own sake. Nothing delighted 
him more than to point out to his friends the qualities 
which had attracted him in some of his favorites and to 
make them sharers in his own enjoyment. 

Mr. Jesup was not a great reader. He preferred to 
gain his information through contact with men. But 
when he read, it was almost always on subjects that were 
worth while. He did not care for novels, but in books of 
travel and description he took delight. His work at the 
Museum had brought him into intimate contact with 
the ends of the earth, and any book that would bring 
him fresh information as to some new feat in exploration, or 
some new object of natural interest, was a welcome visitor. 

Curiously enough, he was not himself fond of travel. 
From time to time he visited Europe, and his business took 
him to various parts of this country, but he did not like 
to separate himself for any long period of time from his 
home ties. He preferred to do his travelling vicariously, 
and, as he grew older, became increasingly content to 
see other lands through the eyes of other men. He had 
a rare faculty for visualizing distant scenes. He never 


visited the college at Beirut, yet he used to say, and with 
truth, that he could see the grounds and the buildings upon 
them as vividly as if they were physically present before 
his eyes. 

Mr. Jesup's first country home was at Irvington, where 
he bought a house in 1857. Here Mrs. Jesup and he 
spent their summers until 1867. In 1885 he built a 
cottage at Bar Harbor which he occupied in the follow- 
ing year. 

Mr. Jesup entered heartily into the life of Bar Harbor. 
He interested himself in the Village Improvement Society. 
He took an active part in the work of the Young Men's 
Christian Association and helped to erect its building. 
When a gambling resort was opened, which threatened 
the young men of the village, he was active in breaking 
it up. When the automobile threatened to invade the 
quiet of Mount Desert he was foremost in organizing a 
movement in opposition. Even when on the water he did 
not leave his responsibilities behind him. Mr. Delafield 
recalls that on one occasion when an important question 
had to be decided affecting the welfare of the college 
at Beirut, Mr. Jesup gathered the gentlemen whose coun- 
sel was essential on his boat, ran out over the quiet waters 
of Frenchman's Bay, and, in the seclusion of the cabin, 
threshed out the question to its right solution. Only 
when this was done had he leisure for the beauties of the 
marvellous panorama through the midst of which they 
were sailing. 

But it was at Lenox that Mr. Jesup's enjoyment of 
nature found its chief satisfaction. Coming to the 
place first as a visitor, he found it so attractive that 
from 1892 on he made it his permanent home. After 


careful study he selected the site on the hill immediately 
below the ledge of woods which commands what, in 
the opinion of many visitors, is the most beautiful of 
all the beautiful views of that most favored bit of pict- 
uresque America. The place was in a peculiar sense 
Mr. Jesup's own creation. He selected the site, he located 
the house, he planned the place, he laid out the roads, he 
chose for his own study the spot which commanded his 
favorite view, where he would sit hour after hour feast- 
ing his eyes on the glory of the opposite hills in the gor- 
geous pageantry of their autumn coloring; or, in the 
morning, sallying forth, hatchet in hand, he would wan- 
der through the woods at the edge of his place, trimming 
the stray branches which had wandered too far across 
the path, filling his soul with the beauty which he loved 
so well, yet always showing to those who were privileged 
to be his companions in these morning walks that his 
thoughts were busy with those far away in the great cities, 
into whose lives no such beauty ever entered. 

Mr. Jesup was a great lover of animals. He loved a 
good dog and always had one for a companion on his 
walks. He loved a good horse and delighted in the long 
drives which Lenox provides in such ceaseless variety. 
When he first bought his house in New York it was con- 
sidered quite out of town, and he used to ride from his 
house to his office every day, keeping his horse in a 
stable near by and riding home again in the afternoon. 
He had a saddle-horse, of which he was particularly 
fond, which he rode for many years. During the time 
when Central Park was being laid out, it was his habit to 
ride over the ground and watch the progress of the work, 
in which he was deeply interested. He was a fearless rider 

t^/iy ./:tat^yA^J ^yo/^^- 



and driver, if anything a little inclined to be reckless, 
though he always liked to have a safe horse, so that he 
could enjoy the scenery as he drove. He loved every 
kind of living creature and sympathized with the efforts 
which were made to protect them. His love for birds 
led to his accepting the presidency of the Audubon So- 
ciety, and his desire to see justice done to the four-footed 
creation, to his acceptance of the vice-presidency of 
the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. 

Of his love for trees we have spoken more than once. 
One little incident illustrates this in so striking a manner 
as to deserve mention here. On one of his drives Mr. 
Jesup happened upon a man who was just about to cut 
down a very handsome elm tree, which was one of the 
landmarks of that part of the country. He stopped and 
asked the owner if he realized what he was doing, and 
how long it had taken the tree to grow. The man re- 
plied that he was doing it because he needed the money 
which he could get for selling the wood. Mr. Jesup 
thereupon asked him what he would sell the tree for and, 
on his naming the price, concluded the bargain on the 
spot. A deed was duly drawn and executed and to the 
end of its natural life that tree will remain a silent witness 
of Mr. Jesup's love of the forest monarchs, for whose pre- 
servation he has done so much. 

Mr. Jesup was fortunate in his friends. He was not a 
club man, in the conventional sense of the term. While 
he was a member of a number of important clubs, such 
as the Metropolitan and the Century of New York, the 
Rittenhouse at Philadelphia, the Metropolitan at Wash- 
ington, and the Jekyl Island Club, he preferred to enter- 
tain his friends at home, or to see them in their own homes. 


Of these friends we have already more than once had 
occasion to speak. They included most of the people 
best worth knowing in his own community and time. 
The different interests with which he was associated had 
brought him into close touch with the men who were 
doing the world's work and contributing to its progress. 
Many of these we have already had occasion to name: 
men like Mr. Hewitt, Mr. Loring Brace, Mr. William 
E. Dodge, Mr. D. Willis James, Mr. John Stewart Ken- 
nedy, Mr. John Crosby Brown, to mention only those 
who have passed away. In the interchange of opinion 
with such men as these, his associates in work as well 
as in play, he loved to pass the hours of his leisure. He 
had little interest in meeting people who had no serious 
purpose in life and from whom there was nothing to be 
learned. "Nothing used to impress me more about 
Mr. Jesup," said one who knew him well, "than the 
character of the men whom he made his friends. You 
could always be sure that at his table you would meet 
people from whom there was something to be learned.'* 
One of the members of his own family connection,* 
who had known him intimately from childhood, writes me 
of his "striking purity of mind, his strong dislike of any- 
thing common or coarse. He had a contempt for idle 
gossip, which grew more pronounced, as did his tolerance 
for all whose views did not accord with his ovm. I have 
seen him start forward impulsively with a frown when 
some idle judgment was given, and then with a quiet 
smile, change the subject, or ask for substantiating rea- 
sons, for he never willingly did injustice. During one of 
my visits to Lenox he and I and his faithful dog Wil- 

* Mrs. T. C. Patterson. 


fred, a magnificent smooth-coated St. Bernard, used to go 
every morning to the woods above the house and there, 
with hatchet and saw, we went amongst the trees, prun- 
ing and clearing and opening vistas. Then we would 
rest upon some rustic bench, and he would seem to 
drink in and absorb the lovely view, or he would talk 
of some one of the many interests which were close to his 
heart. 'So much to do, and so little time in which to do 
it,' were words constantly upon his lips. As is the case 
with all great men, he had much simpHcity of character 
and was always eager to learn from any one who could 
really instruct him. At his table one met constantly 
people of interest, and no self-consciousness ever kept 
Mr. Jesup from asking questions, however elemental, in 
order to gain information. I do not believe he ever con- 
tributed to any object about which he had not fully in- 
formed himself, no matter at what inconvenience to him- 

A similar judgment is expressed by his lifelong friend, 
Mr. Thatcher M. Adams: "If I am asked to say what 
in my judgment was the one controlling maxim on which 
he framed his life I should quote the proverb familiar to 
our boyhood, 'Be sure you're right, then go ahead.' Mr. 
Jesup was by nature and instinct impulsive, his im- 
pulses were large and generous, easily responsive to out- 
side impression but kept under full control. I never 
knew a man more easily approached and more readily 
interested in any subject properly presented to him, but 
however interested he always asked time for consideration 
before giving a definite answer. The one phrase which 
I remember as more frequently upon his lips than any 
other was, 'I must think it over carefully.' This habit 


of careful deliberation was with him a ruling principle. 
Whatever the subject, whatever the cause, he weighed 
and turned it in his mind until he reached a definite 
conclusion. It was so with religion, with philanthropy, 
with civic duty, with social observance, with his multi- 
farious business affairs. The conclusion once reached, 
there was no hesitation, no varying even for an instant 
from the course which he had decided upon. And in 
following that course he spared neither himself, his 
time, nor his purse. This inflexibility of purpose some- 
times and in certain quarters was called obstinacy, but 
the results almost invariably justified his constancy. I 
remember one trifling instance. In laying out the grounds 
of his beautiful estate at Lenox there was a question as 
to the proper location of the upper approach or driveway. 
Mr. Jesup, after careful thought, mapped out a certain 
line for the driveway and submitted it successively to two 
of the most eminent landscape gardeners of the country, 
one of whom was then engaged as his landscape architect. 
Both turned it down as impracticable and unsightly, the 
gentleman then in his employ stating that if Mr. Jesup's 
plan was insisted on he should feel compelled to resign 
his engagement. Mr. Jesup's plan was insisted on and 
carried out, and no one traverses that driveway to-day 
without expressions of admiration at its beauty and practi- 
cability. As in minor, so in greater matters this adherence 
to settled conviction as the result of thoughtful and ex- 
haustive examination produced substantial effects." 

"In the best sense of the word," writes President 
Howard Bliss, of the Syrian Protestant College at Beirut, 
"Mr. Jesup was a 'man of the world.' But he never 


forgot that it was God's world. He loved flowers and 
trees and dogs and people with his great heart because he 
believed that back of all this wonderful world of things 
and persons was God. 

"*Back of the loaf is the snowy flour. 
And back of the flour the mill; 
And back of the mill is the wheat and the shower, 
And the sun, and the Father's will/ 

"I remember how he made me repeat several times 
Tennyson's 'Flower in the crannied wall,' as we were 
walking one day through his beloved woods at Lenox. 
He had never happened to hear that little poem, and it 
touched him deeply." 

"The first time that I saw Mr. Jesup," writes the 
Reverend William R. Richards, D.D., "was at his own 
dinner table, on Monday, the 12th of May, 1902. He 
had just come from downtown, and was evidently in a 
state of great excitement, as of a man who had just suc- 
ceeded in accomplishing something which gave him the 
greatest satisfaction. We soon learned that he had been 
busy through the day over questions arising out of the 
dreadful volcanic eruption on the Island of Martinique. 
And first he told us how he had succeeded in purchas- 
ing, in the name of the Chamber of Commerce, trusting 
that they would subsequently ratify his action, two or 
three vessels loaded with grain which were on their way 
to St. Pierre. The parties to whom these vessels were 
consigned had all been destroyed in the volcanic erup- 
tion, and he had telegraphed to the American Consul at 
the nearest port on the Island to take possession of the 


vessels and their cargoes when they should arrive, and 
use the latter for the relief of the many hungry people on 
the Island. 

"The other thing was that he had secured passage on 
the first ship leaving New York for the scene of the dis- 
aster, for a scientist who was to go on behalf of the 
Museum of Natural History, to make the earliest pos- 
sible investigations as to the phenomena of the eruption 

" I was very deeply impressed at this, my first interview 
with Mr. Jesup, with the fact that this man was quite as 
keenly interested in these matters of public interest — ^the 
relief of the victims of a great disaster, and the extension 
of the scientific knowledge of the world — as most men 
would have been in something that contributed greatly 
to the increase of their own private fortunes. 

"At another time he and I were both guests at a dinner 
given at the University Club by one of the ministers of 
this city to another who had recently been called to one 
of the churches here. A number of pastors were invited to 
the dinner, and also a few prominent Presbyterian lay- 
men. The giver of the dinner desired to improve the 
opportunity of this gathering to arouse increased interest 
in the cause of Church Extension in New York. He 
called upon various speakers, including many of the minis- 
ters, who responded in more or less serious tone, but 
somewhat in the manner of men who are speaking after 
dinner; but at last called upon Mr Jesup. Mr. Jesup 
was so completely possessed by this question of public 
interest — the evangelization of this great city — that he 
spoke in a tone of impassioned earnestness for some five 
or ten minutes, and left so profound an impression on all 


who were present that we all approved the wisdom of 
our host when he rose at the close of Mr. Jesup's re- 
marks and said: *We do not wish to hear anything 
after that; we wish to separate with the impression of 
those words still in our hearts/ " 

''From the time that I first knew Mr. Jesup," writes 
Bishop Lawrence, "it must be now twenty to twenty-five 
years ago, until his last summer, I was impressed each 
time that we met with his rapid and steady development 
in wisdom and character. Some men seem to reach the 
climax of their development at forty; others, at sixty; 
and a few continue to the very end of life. To this last 
group Mr. Jesup belonged. He was a man not only of 
deep, but of very strong and tenacious convictions. 
As he grew older these convictions were no less strong 
and deep; but it seemed to me that he held them with a 
fuller appreciation of the convictions of other men who 
did not agree with him, and he was much more open to 
adjustment of his opinions. He never felt himself too old 
or too wise to learn from others. His wisdom became 
greater each year through many experiences, and his 
contact with a large variety of men in all walks of life. 

"This growth in largeness of outlook, while he retained 
his depth of conviction, could be seen in every interest of 
his life. His theology was surely very different when he 
was seventy from what it was at the age of forty. The 
fundamental truths were there all the time; but there 
was a breadth of vision and a recognition of the convic- 
tions of others and the beauties of the faiths of others. I 
believe that this was true also in connection with his com- 
mercial and political interests. One could not, therefore. 


talk with Mr. Jesup in his later years without being im- 
pressed with the fact that he was in the presence of a 
really large man, tenacious of his convictions, to be sure, 
but wise, strong, and sympathetic. 

"Another characteristic of Mr. Jesup, recognized by all, 
was his public spirit. The temper of Mr. Jesup's public 
spirit always seemed to me to be somewhat unique in 
this respect. Many young men throw themselves into 
public duties; but as they get to be fifty or sixty years 
of age, and larger responsibilities come to them, they 
somewhat justly feel that they can graduate from the 
smaller interests and leave them to the next generation. 
Few citizens have had thrown upon them greater public 
interests than he in the last twenty-five years of his life; 
and the real glory of his public spirit was in the way in 
which he rfefused to be graduated from the smallest public 
interests. Wherever he lived he had the social and moral 
welfare of the community at heart. In the villages of 
Lenox or Bar Harbor he was as much the leader of civic 
righteousness and of all that was for the welfare of the 
humblest, as in the great city of New York. Coming 
to these communities for his holiday and for rest after his 
heavy public work in New York, he was almost immedi- 
ately drawn into the local problems. If in one of the vil- 
lages, a plague-spot was called to his notice by the people, 
Mr. Jesup would take the lead in rooting it out of the 
town. Whether a demoralizing public influence affected 
ten people, or a hundred, or a hundred thousand, it made 
but little difference to him. His sympathies were moved, 
his spirit of chivalry was touched, and he would give 
himself and his best hours to the eradication of the evil. 
And the very fact that he was a man of such large inter- 


ests and great responsibilities gave to every smallest 
word and deed added weight. 

"What was true of his public interests was, I am sure, 
true of his private charities. And the tenderness, grace, 
and delicacy with which he helped one woman or child 
revealed the character of the man who made great gifts 
for the education of the young. 

"Another feature which touched me was his friend- 
liness. Our meetings were usually months apart. I al- 
ways looked forward to them; and he gave me such a 
greeting as led to the impression that he had also looked 
forward to the meeting. He was hospitable, of course, 
a well-known host. There was, however, a considerate- 
ness and a grace to his hospitality which gave charm to 
every hour in his home." 

Even more intimate is the picture given by Bishop 

My relations with Mr. Jesup began when he and I were 
both well on in life, and I am thankful to feel that they 
increased in intimacy and affection from year to year. 
It is difficult to say which one of his many magnetic at- 
tractions drew me and held me to him, because what I 
loved in him was simply his personality — ^just his self. 
One always felt in him the presence and the power of a 
deep and devout religiousness, the consecration of thought 
and aim and love to his Master. I can see now the kin- 
dling of his face, and hear the deep tenderness of his voice, 
as we were going from one room into another in his house, 
at the most beautiful and touching gathering of friends to 
rejoice with him on his golden wedding day. Just as we 
passed under the arch between the two rooms, he stopped 
and asked me to give them, as they stood there together. 


the benediction from our marriage service. It was an in- 
stinct, an impulse that came out of the deep devoutness of 
his religious nature, always stored in his soul, and quick 
to be stirred to the utterance of prayer and thanks- 

We had many hours and days of pleasant and earnest 
talk in his little office in the Madison Avenue house, in 
his beautiful Lenox home, and still more in the Bar 
Harbor summer days, at his own house or in the launch 
cruising about the bay and along the shores of Mount 
Desert Island, and, as his guest more than once at Jekyl 
Island. In his public and official relations I was proud 
and thankful to be now and then associated with him, 
and to recognize the weight and value, the ability and 
cleverness of his character: at the Chamber of Commerce 
dinner at which he had asked me to speak; and again 
when he brought Prince Henry to the breakfast and 
reception given by the Chamber of Commerce in his 
honor; and once again when he was the chief guest and 
speaker at a dinner given by Mr. Whitney to the Trustees 
of the Museum of Natural History. And as I recall him 
on each one of these public occasions I feel anew the 
quiet dignity and simplicity of the man who, by no one 
great achievement and no one great dominant character- 
istic, had won the very highest honor that could come 
to a private citizen, just because of his splendid citizenship. 
Living in a city, and in a century marked by the presence 
of so many men prominent in affairs, munificent as giv- 
ers, successful in public and private administration, he cer- 
tainly stands conspicuous among them all, in honor and 
affection and esteem. Freed from any burden about his 
own business affairs — except the oversight of their ad- 
ministration and their use — since ever I knew him, he 
took upon his shoulders burdens of service and responsi- 
bility in various directions until he was an overworked, 
incessantly occupied man. He never laid down one load 
when he took up another: the Five Points House of In- 


dustry, the College in Beirut, the Union Theological 
Seminary, all these he carried in his heart and upheld 
with his time and his gifts; besides his careful attention 
to the duties of the presidency of the Chamber of Com- 
merce, and of the Museum of Natural History; and 
among all these, he had the time and the will to organize 
the two expeditions, one to solve the question of Siberian 
migration, and the other to find the North Pole. And 
with all this preoccupation he found, or made, leisure 
to enjoy his friends, to appreciate everything beautiful 
in nature and in art, to delight in the quiet repose of his 
ideal home life, and to be given to most gracious and 
beautiful hospitality. His virtual creation of the Museum 
of Natural History was the outcome and expression of 
one of the chief loves of his life. His pride in the superb 
collection of woods gathered in it was only a phase of his 
intense feeling about, and his thorough knowledge of, the 
trees which glorify his Lenox estate and his separate and 
personal acquaintance with the live oaks, clothed in their 
great wreaths of moss, at Jekyl Island. I think it was the 
broadening of his whole nature, as it matured and ripened 
year by year, which broadened his back to bear the added 
duties and interests that multiplied so largely in his later 
life. It is impossible to associate any narrowness of 
thought or feeling with his wide-open mind and his large 
heart. And all his nature was fitly set and fully shown in 
his outward semblance, which combined, in face and 
figure, courage and courtesy, tenderness and decision, 
strength and sweetness, to an unusual degree. I wonder 
sometimes, as I recall our friendship, just how and why he 
let me come into such close relations, because his career 
in life and mine, in all their details, lay along different 
paths; and it is no little comfort to me to feel that he 
found in me what I felt in him — the recognition of the 
real and radical unity between men who, differing in their 
ecclesiastical associations, pursuing each his own ends 
and aims in life, and separated from each other in their 


place of residence, have the common bond of service to 
the one Master, agreement in the fundamental truths of 
the Christian faith, and are at one, therefore, in the 
higher and deeper parts of their nature, and in the most 
profound interests of life. 



/^N May 2, 1907, Mr. Jesup retired from the presidency 
^^ of the Chamber of Commerce, which he had held 
for eight years. Two years before, he had desired to take 
this step, but had altered his purpose in deference to the 
wishes of his friends and associates in the Chamber/ 

1 New York, March 2^h, 1905. 

Morris K. Jesup, Esq., 

197 Madison Avenue, New York. 
Dear Sir: 

We have heard with deep regret that you had decided to retire from the 
presidency of the New York Chamber of Commerce on the expiration of your 
present term of ofl&ce, and not allow your name to be again placed in nomina- 
tion for another term. 

We feel that the eminent services you have rendered during the six years 
you have filled the distinguished position of President with so much credit to 
yourself, and such manifest advantage to the Chamber, entitle you to be honored 
by the tender of the office for another term, and from intimations we have had 
in many quarters, we have every assurance that your services are most highly 
appreciated, and that the members, as a whole, anxiously desire to mark that 
appreciation by re-electing you to the Presidential Chair for at least another 
term. Were it known that you would consent once more to accept the honor, 
we feel assured you will be elected by acclamation. 

Begging you to reconsider your decision to retire, and that you will permit 
us to present your name to the Nominating Committee of the Chamber when 
appointed, we remain, with much respect and esteem. 

Yours very truly, 
J. Edward Simmons, A. A. Raven, A. B. Hepburn, 

Cornelius N. Bliss, Cyrus J. Lawrence, Jacob H. Scheff, 
John A. Stewart, Lyman J. Gage, Jas. Stillman, 

W. Bayard Cutting, Henry Hentz, Geo. F. Seward, 

Geo. F. Baker, A. E. Orr, Isaac N. Seligman, 

August Belmont, John S. Kennedy, W, Butler Duncan, 
Jas. T. Woodward, Geo. Fred. Vietor, James G. Cannon, 
Seth Low, Andrew Carnegie, John L. Riker, 

Jno. T. Terry. 


But the time had now come when the advice of his physi- 
cian and of his friends warned him that the step could 
no longer be postponed. Before the ballot was taken which 
resulted in the election of the new president, Mr. Jesup 
addressed the Chamber as follows: 

Gentlemen: Before a ballot is taken on nominations, 
I think that it is right, and that you may expect, that I 
should say a few words. 

This is our annual meeting. The Chamber of Com- 
merce is one hundred and thirty-nine years old to-day. 
You know what its history has been; and we hope that 
in the years to come the history of this Chamber will be 
as illustrious as it has been in the years that have gone. 

I have served you as President for eight years. It 
has been a pleasure to me, and I have tried to do the best 
I could, although I have made, perhaps, some mistakes. 
What I value more than anything else on retiring from 
this responsible and honorable position is your friendship. 
I am not aware that in the eight years that I have served 
this Chamber there has been one unkind word said by 
any member to me, and I have not heard of any criticism 
made to others. This is a great blessing to me, and will 
always be remembered during the remainder of my life 
with intense pleasure. I do not retire with the feeling 
that there is any credit due to me especially for anything 
that has been done during the few years past, and while 
I am still your President I want to say a word with ref- 
erence to him who is sitting before me, and who has 
served this Chamber for forty-nine years — a very long 
period — to whose faithful service, constant attendance, 
and self-consecration to the interests of this great institu- 
tion you are indebted, I believe, more than to any other 
source for the present state of prosperity and standing of 
this Chamber, and before I retire from this position I 
want to have the pleasure of putting to this Chamber a 


resolution, a vote of confidence, a vote of affection on 
the part of these members to our charming Secretary 
Mr. George Wilson. Is it your pleasure that that resolu- 
tion be carried and placed upon our minutes ? Those 
who are in favor will say aye: contrary, no. It is unani- 
mously carried. 

And now, gentlemen, there is another resolution that 
I, as your President, want to have the pleasure of offering, 
if you would like me to do so. We miss here to-day the 
presence of our valued friend, Mr. Alexander E. Orr. 
He it was that eight years ago gave me his hand as he 
retired and I assumed the Presidency of this Chamber. I 
received from him a benediction. He is a man that I 
love and that we all love and respect, and if you will 
permit me I want to offer this resolution: 

Resolved, That we, the members of the Chamber of 
Commerce, extend our sympathy to Mr. Alexander E. 
Orr, in his long-continued illness, and express the hope 
that he will speedily recover his health and strength. We 
remember with pleasure the long and faithful services given 
by Mr. Orr to the interests of this Chamber as our Presi- 
dent for five years, and his long services as a member. 

Now, gentlemen, as your President, I wish you all great 
happiness and success in your various undertakings. 
My retiring from the Presidency of this Chamber does not 
take away one iota of the interest that I feel in its success, 
and to Mr. Simmons I shall give all the aid I can to make 
his administration successful. 

Referring to this address a few months later, the Hon- 
orable George F. Seward thus described the impression 
which it produced upon those who heard it: "It is only 
a few months since Mr. Jesup laid aside his work here. 
We of the Chamber knew then that the life that had 
lasted so long was nearing its end. We knew, as he 
spoke, that he was conscious that in so much of life as 


might be left for him, he could never hope to mingle 
again with the men whom he loved and who loved him. 
There were eyes that day that were dim with moist- 
ure, there are eyes to-day that are dim with moisture, 
for there is such a thing among men as affection, and 
Mr. Jesup gave and received affection in large measure." 

It was indeed high time that Mr. Jesup should free 
himself from the responsibilities which he had so long 
carried. For more than a year he had been a sick 
man, yet, in spite of the protest of his friends, he had 
refused to lay down the burdens which he was carrying. 
It was not easy for him to face the thought of idleness, 
even when the call was the imperative call of sick- 
ness. His heart was in the things that he had been do- 
ing, and in the men and women for whom he had been 
doing them. Harder for him than for most men it was 
to learn the lesson that "they also serve who only stand 
and wait." 

The first sign of Mr. Jesup's serious ill health came 
in the autumn of 1906, when the frequent trips to New 
York, necessitated by the final work in connection with 
the San Francisco Relief Fund of the Chamber of Com- 
merce, seemed to cause him more than usual fatigue. He 
was troubled by dizziness and looked pale and worn at 
times. It was then discovered that he was suffering from 
a valvular affection of the heart. At the meeting of the 
Chamber of Commerce in May, when he resigned the 
presidency, he was suffering greatly, and those who knew 
of his condition were in doubt whether he would be able 
to complete the task which he had set for himself. For 
some time after this he was again very ill, but rallied 
once more and, though a semi-invalid, was able to enjoy 


the beauties of the spring at Lenox and the summer at 
Bar Harbor. 

In the autumn, however, the distressing symptoms of 
his illness became more persistent and the air of his 
beloved Berkshire Hills being thought too strong for 
him, he returned to his New York home. Here he still 
was able to direct the affairs of the interests with which 
he was connected and to attend the meetings at the 
Museum of Natural History. He was present at the 
November meeting of the Board of Directors of the Union 
Theological Seminary. His mind, through all the suffer- 
ing and distress of his illness, remained wonderfully clear 
and his judgment unimpaired. On Christmas Eve of 
1907, however, the illness again became acute and from 
that time until his death, it was seen by the loving watch- 
ers at his bedside that there could be no hope of his 

He died in the early morning hours of January 22, 1908. 
Though acutely sensitive to physical suffering, the 
patience and fortitude he displayed all through his ill- 
ness was a benediction and a lesson to those about him. 
His mind turned more and more to spiritual things as 
his illness increased, and his main comfort and support 
was in his religion. The frequent little services of prayer 
seemed wonderfully helpful to him, and through one 
long day of particular distress he repeated for hours the 
hymns which were dearest to him and which seemed to 
bring him peace and rest. 

The funeral service was held at 10 A. M., January 
25, 1908, at the Brick Presbyterian Church, in the pres- 
ence of a large gathering of friends and representatives of 
the various interests with which Mr. Jesup was connected. 


The service, which was simple and marked by the 
absence of all eulogy, was read by the Reverend William 
R. Richards, D.D., Pastor of the church; the Reverend 
Henry van Dyke, D.D., of Princeton, a former pastor, 
made the prayer, and the scripture reading was by the 
Reverend Hugh Black, the incumbent of the Graduate 
Chair of Preaching at the Union Theological Seminary, 
which Mr. Jesup had endowed two years before. The 
honorary pallbearers were J. Pierpont Morgan, John E. 
Parsons, Joseph H. Choate, Cornelius N. Bliss, Professor 
Henry Fairfield Osborn, Cleveland H. Dodge, General 
Horace Porter, John T. Terry, Charles Lanier, and 
Thatcher M. Adams. 

From the many testimonials which witness to the deep 
sense of loss with which Mr. Jesup's death was regarded 
by the community in which he had lived so long, and for 
which he had done so much, we may select two which, 
because of their intimate character, are worthy a place 
in this record. The first is the tribute paid to Mr. 
Jesup's memory by his old friend. General Horace Porter, 
at a memorial meeting held at the Chamber of Com- 
merce on January 23, 1908; the other the sketch read 
by Professor William M. Sloane at the annual meeting 
of the Century Association on January 9, 1909. 

The meeting of the Chamber was called to ordbr by 
President Simmons and, after resolutions had been pro- 
posed by Mr. Seward, and seconded by Mr. Choate, 
General Porter spoke as follows: 

Mr. President: In rising to second these very appro- 
priately expressed resolutions, I can safely say that this 
is the saddest occasion on which I was ever called upon 


to meet my fellow-members of the Chamber of Commerce. 
It is a moment when it would seem that the lips should 
be silent and the heart alone should speak. Morris K. 
Jesup is no more. The sad news filled each heart here 
with a sense of grief akin to the sorrow of a personal be- 
reavement. The familiar, genial face that we were always 
so glad to look upon in social life, in business affairs, in 
public matters, we shall see no more forever. He has been 
called from the living here to join those other living, com- 
monly called, the dead. But yesterday the silver cord was 
loosed, the golden bowl was broken, and one of the noblest 
spirits that ever wore the mantle of mortality has winged 
its flight back to the God who gave it. One of the most 
precious memories of my entire life will always be the fact 
that it was my privilege to know Morris Jesup closely, 
intimately for a period of over forty years. He came 
here from a neighboring State to enter the lists of compe- 
tition with other young men who had determined to win 
their fortunes and their fame in the great metropolis. 
I can almost see him now as he appeared then in the full 
vigor of young manhood; his deep, piercing eyes, his 
jet-black hair and beard, his brisk step, his cordial manner. 
There was something in the manliness and frankness of 
his look that inspired confidence in all who came into 
relation with him. 

Morris Jesup, it seems to me, was unique in one partic- 
ular. He was a man who steadily, gradually, and surely 
advanced. There are many men in life who make a spurt 
and then stop. Many go no further; some even retrograde. 
Morris Jesup was continually advancing in his career. I 
do not think there was a single year in which he had not 
reached a point somewhat in advance of the point that 
he occupied the year before. He was constantly learning 
something. It used to astonish us all to see the progress 
he made in so many different and useful directions. I will 
not pause to recount the many monuments he builded, 
they have been described to you just now so fully and so 


eloquently by my predecessors. I can say from personal 
knowledge, however, having visited all similar institutions 
of note, that he lived to see in the Museum of Natural 
History a creation which far surpasses any institution of 
its kind in the world to-day. He began late in life to 
study art and science, when he became a patron of those 
branches. In connection with the Museum of Natural 
History and other institutions he studied science, not in 
a technical way, but with that broad view which was 
easy to grasp, with his quick perceptions. Then he 
studied the world's geography when he was contemplat- 
ing how to assist a great explorer in reaching the coveted 
possession of the Pole; and as has been said, he lived to 
see his name attached to a point of land nearest to that 
much-sought object. 

We know within the walls of this building more about 
his charity and his benevolence than is known elsewhere, 
for no man was more modest in that respect, no one took 
greater pains to disguise the amount of his charities, dis- 
pensed with his spirit of broad philanthropy. We all 
know that wherever a calamity was heard of, in this 
country or any other country, whether it arose from fire, 
or flood or famine, or earthquake, with his great powers 
of administration and his sympathetic heart, he was first 
in the field with ready, prompt, and practical means of 
relief. As a banker he was well known to this City. 
Through his connection with powerful organizations and 
corporations he was well known throughout the country. 
His practical philanthropy, far-reaching views, corre- 
spondence and dealings made him known to all countries. 
Foreign nations decorated him, and the Sovereign of a 
distant power knighted him. But what he loved and ap- 
preciated much more than all such honors was the posses- 
sion of the profound respect and absolute affection of 
his fellow-citizens. He reached a ripe age. He died 
with his harness on. He had completed all his life's work. 
He died at peace with his fellowmen and at peace with 


his God. He passed away surrounded by his affectionate 
and devoted wife, who had been his true partner in all 
his labors, his triumphs and his joys, and by other rela- 
tions whom he loved. It will not be our duty to lay him 
in the tomb, shut out from the light of summer suns, 
there to await the requiem of winter's storms, but his 
true sepulchre will be the hearts of his fellow-citizens. 
He was a lesson to his contemporaries; he will be an in- 
spiration to his successors. He gained title deeds to 
honors of which he can never be dispossessed. He made 
his name honorable in this age and venerable to poster- 
ity. The many monuments he created will always speak 
in their mute eloquence of his worth. We can now 
only gather together and recount his virtues, commend 
his example to others, breathe a peace to his ashes, and 
say with Shakespeare's character: "Good-night, sweet 

It is the custom of the members of the Century Asso- 
ciation, at their annual meeting in January, to hear a 
brief record of the lives of those of their friends and asso- 
ciates who have passed away during the year. The 
company which gathers on such an occasion represents 
in singular degree all the interests, commercial, educa- 
tional, scientific, artistic, and religious, to which Mr. 
Jesup had devoted his life. Before this company of kin- 
dred spirits, lovers of the ideal, and comrades in the effort 
to make this world a home of beauty, of friendship, and 
of truth, Professor Sloane paid this just tribute to the 
memory of a fellow member who had gone before : 

Morris Ketchum Jesup was born to the affluence of 
noble aspirations, but orphaned at twelve, he inherited 
little else. With a sound school training and scarcely 
more than an introduction to college, he entered the stern 


conflict of business life when a mere boy. Such was the 
sterling metal of his character that at twenty-four he es- 
tablished an independent firm in New York. His inborn 
sympathy for spiritual pursuits and his rich endowment 
of companionable qualities, made him a member of the 
Century at twenty-seven. For fifty-one years he was 
part of the living organism which keeps us ever young, 
ever creative, ever sensitive to our responsibilities. In 
the end, his education was thorough, comprehensive, 
vitalizing; and, as he was prospered beyond his visions, 
he showered on the community, with bewildering gener- 
osity, the benefits he had received, giving himself, with his 
wealth, to enterprises which have gone far to regenerate 
the life of New York, to place science on a new founda- 
tion, and to spread in all lands the Gospel of Jesus Christ, 
whose humble servant he considered himself in every 
activity of his life. 

He was a banker, a director of enormous corporations 
in the Interests of their stockholders, prominent in the 
Chamber of Commerce, and Its President for many 
years. The business honor of his adopted city was closer 
to his heart than any other secular interest: under all 
circumstances he pleaded for It, safeguarded It, and was 
continually selected to represent It. Though he retired 
from active business at fifty-four and thereafter for a 
quarter of a century devoted his splendid powers chiefly 
to other service, yet he maintained a commanding posi- 
tion in the industrial and commercial world to the very 

Mr. Jesup was a devoted churchman In the denomina- 
tion to which he belonged, being firmly convinced that 
philanthropy without faith was like a tree with no tap- 
root. He was a church member who found his highest 
duty in the most generous support of church enterprises 
for the spread of its domestic and foreign Influence, and 
In close connection with the organic life of the congregation 
with which he worshipped. But these intimate relations 


were only a starting-point and a foundation for his wider 
activities. He was a founder of the Young Men's Chris- 
tian Association, he gave to the Children's Aid Society an 
important building, was President of the Five Points House 
of Industry, of the American Sunday School Union, of the 
New York City Mission and Tract Society, an officer of 
the United States Christian Association during the Civil 
War, of the Union Theological Seminary, and of the Syr- 
ian Protestant College at Beirut — that wonderful English- 
speaking University which, with Robert College, has 
contributed so mightily to the regeneration of the hither 
East. He was a princely benefactor of all these; to them, 
singly and collectively, he gave unceasing, loving care, 
more energy and thought probably than to his business 

As in the Christian, so in the secular world, education 
was his chiefest care. He gave liberally to Williams, to 
Yale, and to Princeton. He exerted himself powerfully 
in the cause of Forest Preservation and in the husbanding 
of all our national resources; expeditions which were 
supported by him carried his name to both ends of this con- 
tinent, almost from pole to pole, and in Geology, Paleon- 
tology, Biology, and Ethnology, enriched our scientific 
apparatus to the admiration and envy of distant and older 
lands. The Czar of Russia made him a companion of the 
highest Russian order for scientific service to that country, 
King Edward received him with respect as head of a 
commission laboring in the interests of humanity and 
peace. He was a discriminating collector of books and 
pictures, a member of our three most important art 

But, while toiling ceaselessly in all these interests, he 
knew how to concentrate his highest powers in one. For 
his work, first as an organizer of the Natural History Mu- 
seum, and later as its President, four universities gave 
him academic recognition, one of them its highest hono- 
rary degree. To this great educational enterprise in the 


City of New York no other is second, for it stands in the 
front rank: first for popular education, second for its 
scientific collections, and thirdly as a hearthstone of origi- 
nal research. The spacious buildings erected by the 
community are filled to overflowing with collections of 
prime importance, its staflF of workers are men of the high- 
est standing in the scientific world, and its publications are 
standard authorities. Others have contributed lavishly 
to this triumph of private enterprise, but no one to the 
same degree as Mr. Jesup. His benefactions have been 
far the largest, his energies have been the most devoted, 
his organizing powers have been, with no detraction from 
the merits of others, the most efl&cient, and his bequests 
have enabled it to take another great step forward. With 
its grandeur his name is inseparably Hnked. 

Not one of us has forgotten the presence of the man: 
his fine form, his stately bearing, his serene and earnest 
countenance. He was often with us, and his discourse 
was generally of high things, though he could at times 
unbend and lend himself to mirthful talk. Yet, in the 
main, there was in him a sense of high calling. He was 
a convinced and tenacious optimist, sure that the Kingdom 
was coming, even on earth : and that it was a man's work 
to help it forward. He lived long and noted the steady 
uplift of New York life. He was never confused by the 
lapses, which so engage the attention of less constructive 
minds. I have heard thoughtless and contemptuous 
abuse of this city met with scathing rebuke at his hands. 
Expansion was the experience of his personal life, it was 
his creed for religion and education and patriotism. Of 
a stock that had been American for the greater part of three 
centuries, he saw the perspective of centuries yet to come 
in the light of hope and faith. 



TT /"E have reached the end of our journey. But before 
^ ^ we close the page we may turn back for a moment in 
order to gather into a single picture the different glimpses 
which have come to us as we have looked at Mr. Jesup's life 
from its different angles, and learned the impression which 
he made upon those with whom he was brought in contact. 
A man's true nature is revealed not only by the thing 
that he does, but in his manner of doing it. Through a 
chance word, a grasp of the hand, or it may be simply an 
expression of the eye, we often gain an insight impossible 
of attainment in any other way. 

It was so with Mr. Jesup. His personality gave a 
certain distinctive quality and coloring to his work. No 
one could live with him long without discovering what 
manner of man he was. His character was transparent, 
and his acts, to a far greater degree than is the case with 
most men, self-revelations. He was impulsive and, like 
all impulsive men, was sometimes led into apparent in- 
consistencies, but the inconsistency was only on the 
surface, and, as one came to know him better, one dis- 
covered the fact. All that he did was of a piece. The 
different strands in his character wove themselves into a 
consistent whole, and it is not easy to unravel them. 



First of all, one is impressed by his conscientiousness. 
The words which he wrote many years ago are literally 
true: ** I work all the time trying to do my duty.*' When 
once he had set his hand to any task he carried it through 
to its conclusion, no matter what the cost, and this was 
the standard by which he judged all life, both in himself 
and in others. "Gentlemen," he once said when introduc- 
ing Dr. Alderman at one of the dinners of the Chamber 
of Commerce, "there is something in these days worth 
knowing besides the every-day work in our offices and 
places of business; there is deep down in our hearts a 
desire to know what best to do with our lives and how to 
make them of use and value to our fellowmen and our 
country. We can only do this by steadily acquainting our- 
selves with the needs and wants of others and stimulating 
the minds of our companions to think on those things which 
are just, honest, and of good report." It surprised him 
that he found so few people who shared his own high 
standard. "I sometimes think," he writes to Mr. Bar- 
nard, "that we expect too much. The longer we live, 
the more we must learn to take the world as we find it. 
I wish there were more who were conscientious and self- 
sacrificing and who were willing to consecrate themselves 
to the work of helping others. These characters have 
always been rare and I fear, until the spirit of Christ 
comes more and more to become our life, this conse- 
cration will not increase." 

This conscientiousness showed itself, for one thing, in 
the thoroughness with which Mr. Jesup prepared for what- 
ever he had undertaken to do. Whether it was writing 
a letter or planning for the future of the Museum, he 
wished to be master of the facts before he acted. It was 


his habit to let a night pass before he answered an im- 
portant letter. How much care he gave to the prepara- 
tion of his speeches we have already seen. His summers 
were the seed-time, in which he planned the winter's 
work. Writing to a friend from Bar Harbor he says: 
"I am having a quiet, restful, thoughtful time," with 
the word thoughtful underlined. And again, speaking 
of his plan to remain in Bar Harbor until September, 
in order to be free from calls and cares and have the rest 
he needs, he writes: "I have some hard work before me 
in New York in October and November, work of the 
head and brain, in preparation for important events that 
are to come in connection with the Chamber of Commerce 
and the American Museum of Natural History." 

Like all strong characters, Mr. Jesup was a man of 
great independence. He liked to do things in his own 
way, and he was so conscious of the excellence of that 
way that it was not always easy for him to recognize that 
other ways might be as good. He was sometimes restive 
in double harness. To one of his younger colleagues, 
who had remonstrated with him upon a certain policy, 
he laid his hand affectionately upon his shoulder and 
said: "My boy, you will have your turn bye and bye. 
This is my turn, and you must have patience and let 
me do things my own way." This quality sometimes 
brought him into opposition with men whom he respected, 
and led to temporary misunderstandings which it took 
time to clear up. But, on the other hand, it was the 
secret of Mr. Jesup's strength and the explanation of 
the greatness of his achievement. He was not afraid to 
take responsibility. When no one else would go with 
him he was willing to go on alone. If Mr. Jesup had been 


a different man, Commander Peary, with all his resolu- 
tion, would never have been able to make his way to 
the Pole. 

This independence often showed itself amusingly in 
little things. I found among Mr. Jesup's papers a letter 
of Dr. Morgan Dix, expressing his regret at his inability 
to accept an invitation which Mr. Jesup had extended 
to him to be present at the opening of the new building 
of the Chamber of Commerce, on account of a conflicting 
engagement. The letter is endorsed in Mr. Jesup's 
own hand with the following comment: "I have written 
Dr. Dix that a representative of the committee will call 
on him in a carriage at his house at a quarter before 
eleven o'clock and bring him to the new building." 

Yet, side by side with this forcefulness of character 
there was in Mr. Jesup an open-mindedness which made 
him willing to learn from those with whom he diflFered, 
and, what is still rarer and more notable, to confess him- 
self in the wrong when once his reason had been convinced. 
One of his friends has told me of an incident which 
occurred at a meeting of a Board, at which both were 
present, in which Mr. Jesup with some heat had opposed 
a resolution proposed by my informant. Somewhat dis- 
appointed and disheartened, the latter had returned to 
his office, where, a few moments later, he was surprised 
to see Mr. Jesup appear. "I have been walking around 
the block," said the latter, "thinking over what you said, 
and I have made up my mind that you were right and 
I was wrong, and I have come here to tell you so." 

We have spoken more than once of the artistic element 
in Mr. Jesup's nature. This was the explanation of cer- 
tain qualities in him which sometimes puzzled his friends. 


He reached his conclusions by intuition rather than by 
reason. He often saw the end more quickly than the 
means by which it was to be reached. He not only saw 
the end, he felt it, and this feeling lent warmth and fire 
to his convictions. The conviction once gained, he was 
willing to take infinite pains to find out the best means 
of reaching the goal, but the fact that at the time he did 
not see how the end was to be gained never for a moment 
shook his faith that there was a way and that he would 
find it. 

His love for beauty colored all that he did. We have 
seen how it expressed itself in his management of the 
Museum. It lent individuality and distinctiveness to his 
charities. He was continually finding graceful and 
thoughtful things to do, things of which no one else had 
thought. On one occasion, after a visit to one of our New 
England colleges, where he had been most hospitably 
entertained, he discovered through a casual conversation 
that no provision was made by the authorities for such 
hospitality, but that whatever was done must be provided 
for within the narrow limits of a college president's sal- 
ary. Soon after, the treasurer of the college received 
a letter from Mr. Jesup asking whether the institution 
would be willing to accept the gift of a sum of money, 
the income of which should be put at the disposal of the 
president and his successors for the purposes of enter- 
taining college guests. It grieved him that men of cult- 
ure and refinement should not be able to gratify the 
tastes of cultivated people. More than once I have heard 
him speak with indignation of the low salaries and of 
the slight honor, according to this world's standards, 
accorded to our ministers and professors. "It is a 


shame," he would say, "that men who have given their 
lives to the highest cause should not receive from us 
the highest honor." 

In the course of his life Mr. Jesup himself received 
many honors. Four of our leading colleges gave him 
their honorary degrees. The Emperor of Japan con- 
ferred upon him the decoration of the Second Class 
of the distinguished Order of Sacred Treasure; and the 
Emperor of Russia made him a member of the Order of 
St. Stanislaus of the First Class. He counted among his 
friends men of prominence in all parts of the world. 
The Gaekwar of Baroda, an Indian Prince of large wealth, 
entrusted to him the management of his fortune and con- 
sulted him about the education of his child. These things 
were, of course, pleasing to Mr. Jesup. He was gratified, 
as who would not be, with the recognition that came to 
him in such abundant measure during the latter years of 
his life, but he never allowed himself to appear conscious 
of it outside the intimacy of his own home. "He fre- 
quently told me," writes one of his friends, "how much 
afraid he was of wishing to have his name associated with 
his own gifts." 

To this, however, there was one exception. "He 
said to me on one occasion," writes the same informant, 
" *I confess that once I did wish very much that my 
name might be on the bow of a ship, and that was when 
Captain Peary started for the Pole. My imagination 
pictured to me with the keenest delight that ship going 
toward the arctic regions with my name upon it. It 
would have made me feel that I was guiding her there 
myself.' " The temptation was, however, resisted, and 
the ship named Roosevelt. 


He had no patience with aflPectation in any form. He 
loved speech that was simple, direct, and sincere. In a 
letter of his, returning the report of a certain society, of 
which he was president, I find the following character- 
istic comment apropos of a reference to a letter of his 
own: **I notice that you use the word, beautiful, in re- 
ferring to my letter. Please substitute some other word, 
such as manly, honest, or anything else you think fit." 

Mr. Jesup was an intense lover. Of his affection for 
his mother we have more than once spoken. "My love 
for my mother," he once wrote in a place designed for 
no eyes but his own, "is a spring of pure water in my 
heart all the time." Incidental references in his letters 
show how deeply he was stirred by the loss of those 
friends, like Mr. Dodge and Mr. Brace, with whom his 
work had brought him into intimate fellowship. For so 
forceful a character, he was singularly tender-hearted. 
His sympathy was world-wide. He could not bear the 
thought of needless suffering. " I am obliged," he writes 
to one of his friends in a panic year, "for your kind 
letter and your interest. I did not intend to convey the 
idea to you that I was unwell. I only intended to convey 
the idea that I could not be happy and content when so 
much trouble and suffering was taking place around me. 
I am always thinking of those whose lot is not cast in 
pleasant places. I have so many friends in trouble, I am 
sorry for you in the hot city with so much suffering con- 
stantly before you." These words were more than the 
expression of a casual mood. They reproduce the pre- 
vailing temper of Mr. Jesup's life. Often, his family 
would see him on some cold winter evening standing 
silently by the window and looking out earnestly into the 


night, and when they asked of what he was thinking, the 
answer would come back: "I am thinking of the poor 
people who are out in the cold to-night with no shelter." 
Said one to me who had had occasion to know by ex- 
perience the sterner side of his character, "Mr. Jesup had 
a great heart." 

The spring of all lay in his faith in God. It is not for 
us here to try to penetrate into the deeper sanctities of 
his nature. It is enough to say that from first to last 
religion was the most real thing in his life. He believed 
in the presence and control of God as a fact of daily ex- 
perience. Brought up in the simple evangelicalism of 
an older day, his faith remained in its essentials unaffected 
by the changes in modern thought. Speaking once to 
a friend, of the cross of Christ, he said, "That is the 
religion that you and I need." His belief in immortality 
was unwavering, his reverence for the Bible sincere, his 
conviction that religion was the only solvent for human 
ills unshaken. These were not things of which he often 
talked, for he did not carry his heart upon his lips, but 
those who came into intimate contact with him knew 
where he stood. He had a wide acquaintance with men 
of all churches, and numbered many clergymen among his 
intimate friends. They felt in him a kindred spirit and 
could open to him the secrets of their hearts, sure of being 
understood. "What we need," he once said to President 
Hall, speaking of the training of men for the ministry, 
"is more of the spirit of Christ." His life brought him 
into contact with many men who held high positions in 
the world's eye, but he judged them not by their outward 
position, but by the standard which he had learned in 
the school of Christ, and among his true friends were 


many of whom the world knew nothing, but in whom 
he had found that spirit of consecration which was to 
him the true test of greatness. 

Such, then, are some of the main features of the pict- 
ure which we catch as we look back through the lights 
and shadows of the years, and ask what manner of man 
it is who has been our companion on the journey. To 
him, as to all men, the years brought their changes. 
More than once we have had occasion to refer in these 
pages to a certain mellowing and ripening which his 
friends detected in Mr. Jesup with advancing years. It 
was not that his convictions changed, but that his per- 
spective broadened, that he came to see aspects of truth 
which he had not hitherto perceived, and to make room 
in his heart for men from whose views he had formerly 
differed. We have seen this in his attitude to the Sunday 
question; we have seen it in his attitude to Union Semi- 
nary in connection with the controversy over Dr. Briggs. 
He was always open-minded, he was always learning, he 
was always growing. He never stopped, one felt he never 
would stop. He was himself in the never-ceasing develop- 
ment of his own character a powerful argument for that 
immortality in which he so unquestioningly believed. 

As we call to memory his stately and gracious presence, 
his great heart, his sense of his high calling, the words of 
the friend, already recorded, rise unbidden to our lips: 
*'He has made his name honorable to his age and vener- 
able to posterity; we recount his virtues, we commend 
his example to others, breathe peace to his ashes, and say 
with Shakespeare's character, * Farewell, sweet Prince.' " 


Adams, John Macgregor, 35. 

Adams, Thatcher M., 64; description 
of a conference with Mayor Grant 
on the cleaning of the city streets, 
67-69; an appreciation of Mr. 
Jesup by, 209, 210, 224. 

Agassiz, Louis, 138, 140. 

American Museum of Natural His- 
tory, 2, 4, 23, 44; plan for new 
wing, 136; account of its ori- 
gin and purpose, 13 7-1 41; its in- 
corporators, 138; letter in regard 
to its object from Baron Osten 
Sacken, 143; development, 145- 
155; Elliott collection of birds, 145; 
Maximilian collection of birds and 
mammals, 145; Verreaux and Ve- 
dray collection, 145; Jay collection 
of shells, 147; Witthaus collection 
of coleoptera, 147; Hall collection 
of fossils, 147; Morgan collection 
of gems, 163; Loubat collection 
of Mexican antiquities, 163, 168; 
Jesup collection of North American 
woods, 165; Jesup collection of eco- 
nomic entomology, 166; Cope collec- 
tion of fossil mammals, 167; New 
Zealand and Rio Negro ethnological 
and zoological collections, 171, 

American Society for the Prevention of 
Cruelty to Animals, 2. 

American Sunday School Union, 2, 96. 

Armstrong, Gen. Samuel Chapman, 

Audubon Society, 2, 180, 207. 

Barnard, William F., 25. 
Beirut, Syrian Protestant college at, 

Bickmore, Albert S., his connection 
with the Museum of Natural His- 
tory, 140, 141, 145, 147, 161. 

Bishop, Hon. Nathan, 48. 

Black, Rev. Hugh, 109, iii, 224. 

Bliss, Cornelius N., 224. 

Bliss, Howard, president of Syrian 
Protestant College, 98; his testi- 
mony to Mr. Jesup, 210, 211. 

Blodgett, William T., 138. 

Boyce, Rev. James P., 73. 

Brainerd, Cephas, 45. 

Brick Presbyterian Church, 3, 88. 

Briggs, Dr. Charles A., 106, 107. 

Brooks, Bishop Phillips, 72. 

Brown, Dr. Arthur, 96. 

Brown, John Crosby, 45; director of 
the Union Theological Seminary, 
106; Mr. Jesup's intimate friend,2o8. 

Bumpus, Professor Hermon Carey, 
Director of the Museum of Natural 
History, 152, 154, 162; quoted, 185, 

Chamber of Commerce (New York), 
5, 43; founded in 1768, 113; scope 
of, 113, 114; action to relieve suf- 
ferers in the Martinique and San 
Francisco calamities, 121; sends 
delegation to visit the London 
Chamber of Commerce, 127, 128; 
its new building, 128; opening cere- 
monies of the new building, 129; 
last address of Mr. Jesup to, 220- 

Chamber of Commerce (London), 126; 
entertains visitors from the New 
York Chamber of Commerce, 126, 
127; the London banquet, 131-135. 




Chandler, Professor, 67. 
Cheever, Dr., 87. 
Childrens' Aid Society, 27. 
Chinese comn)issioners, 125. 
Choate, Joseph H., 138, 141; quoted, 

183, 184, 224. 
Civil War, references to, 47, 114. 
Claflin Institute, 76. 
Clark, Charles, 29. 
Clark & Jesup, 29; dealt in railroad 

supplies, 31. 

Cleveland, Grover, 129. 
Colgate, Robert, 138. 
Colgate, Samuel, 56, 59. 
Colquitt, Alfred H., 73. 
Committee of Five, 60, 202. 
Committee of Seventy, 115. 
Committee of Twenty-one, 66, 115. 
Comstock, Anthony, 47; his work in 

suppressing obscene literature, 54; 

Mr. Jesup's interest and aid, 55-59. 
Crerar, John {see note), 35. 
Cuyler, C. C, 36. 
Cuyler, Thomas de Witt, 36. 
Cuyler, Morgan & Company, 36, 43. 

Dana, Charles A., 138. 

Degrees and honors conferred on Mr. 
Jesup, 24, 236. 

Devine, Dr., 122. 

De Witt, Maria Van Antwerp, 86, 

De Witt Memorial Church, 91, 93, 94, 

De Witt, Dr. Thomas, 91, 93. 

Dix, Rev. Morgan, 234. 

Doane, Bishop William C, intimate 
picture of his relations with Mr. 
Jesup, 215-218. 

Dodge, A. G. P., 138. 

Dodge, Cleveland H., 224. 

Dodge, Rev. D. S., 98. 

Dodge, Jr., William E., 22, 45, 55; a 
founder of Syrian Protestant Col- 
lege, 98; director of the Union 
Theological Seminary, 106, 141; 
life-long friend of Mr. Jesup, 208. 

Dodge, Sr., William E., trustee of 

Slater Fund, 72, 98; his gift to the 
Museum of Natural History, 160; 
D wight, Henry, 32, 33-34. 

Elsing, Rev. W. M., 92, 94, 95. 

Farnam, Henry, 32. 

Field, Benjamin H., 138, 141. 

Five Points House of Industry, 2, 24- 

Forest preservation, 5, 40, 60; me- 
morial addressed to the New York 
Legislature, 61; action of Chamber 
of Commerce in regard to, 115, 165. 

General Education Board, 3, 80. 
Gerry, Elbridge T., 84. 
Gilman, Daniel C, 72, 74, 80. 
Green, Andrew H., 139, 141. 
Green's Farms, 12, 19. 
Greene, Gen. Francis V., 67. 
Griswold, George, 32. 
Grosvenor, Jasper, 28, 30. 

Haines, William A., 138, 141. 

Hall, Charles Cuthbert, no. 

Hall, Professor James, 139. 

Hall, Dr. John, 87. 

Hampton Institute, 23, 76, 77, 78. 

Hayes, ex-President, 72. 

Hepburn, Dr., 96. 

Hewitt, Abram S., 115, 117; statue 
of, presented to the Chamber of 
Commerce, 130. 

Home Missions, 20. 

Hospital Saturday and Sunday Asso- 
ciation, 3. 

Hull, Charity, 15. 

Hunt's Point, 11. 

IngersoU, Robert G., 56. 
Iselin, Adrian, 138. 

James, D. Willis, 106; friendship for 

Mr. Jesup, 208. 
Jesup, Charles, 8; graduate of Yale, 

13; took up business, 14; marriage, 

14; death, 14; religious activities, 




Jessup, Edward, pioneer settler of 
Long Island, 8; magistrate in 
Westchester County, 11. 
Jesup, Mrs. Charles (Abigail Sher- 
wood), 8; her influence, 14; force 
of character, 20, 21; her son pre- 
sented her with a house, 22; her 
son's afifection for, 237. 
Jesup, Ebenezer, surgeon in Conti- 
nental army, 9, 11. 
Jesup, Ebenezer (Major), business 

ability, II, 13; public spirit, 12. 
Jesup, Morris Ketchum — 
Official positions held by: 

President of the Chamber of 
Commerce, 2, 113; American 
Museum of Natural History, 2, 
151; Young Men's Christian 
Association, 2, 45; New York 
City Mission and Tract Society, 

2, 92; Five Points House of In- 
dustry, 2, 25; American Sunday 
School Union, 2, 96; Peary Arc- 
tic Club, 2, 195; Sailors' Snug 
Harbor, 2, 43, 120; Audubon 
Society, 2; New England So- 
ciety, 2; Syrian Protestant Col- 
lege at Beiriit, 2, 96. 

Vice-President of the New York 
Institution for the Deaf and 
Dumb, 2; Union Theological 
Seminary, 2, 108; American So- 
ciety for the Prevention of 
Cruelty to Animals, 2; Pilgrims* 
Society, 2; Society for the Sup- 
pression of Vice, 3, 56. 

Treasurer of the John F. Slater 
Fund for the Education of 
Freedmen, 3, 43, 72-77. 

Member of the Peabody Board, 

3, 80; of the General Educa- 
tion Board, 3, 80; Rapid Tran- 
sit Commission, 3, 43, 119. 

Trustee of the Presbyterian Hos- 
pital, 3; Hospital Saturday and 
Sunday Association, 3; Society 
for the Relief of Half-Orphan 
and Destitute Children, 3; Brick 
Presbyterian Church, 3. 

Addresses made by, at the 

Legislature of the State of New 
York, 61; Hampton Institute, 
78, 79; Old First Presbyterian 
Church, 89; Ecumenical Con- 
ference, New York City, 104, 
105; dinner to the Chinese 
commissioners, 125; opening 
ceremonies of the Chamber of 
Commerce, 131-135; banquet 
of the London Chamber of 
Commerce, 131-135; Museum 
of Art, 181, 182; Chamber of 
Commerce, on retiring from the 
presidency, 220-221. 
Letters of, to 

Anthony Comstock, 57, 58, 59; 
Alexander E. Orr, 70, 75, 76, 
118; Mr. Wanamaker, 83; Dr. 
Charles Cuthbert Hall, D. D., 
109, no; Chief of Bureau, 
Yards and Docks, 193-195. 
Letters to, from 

D wight L. Moody, 53; Colonel 
George E. Waring, 68, 69; 
Bishop Henry C. Potter, 112; 
Henry White, Secretary Ameri- 
can Legation, 135; Chamber 
of Commerce, his friends and 
associates in, 219. 
Jesup, Morris Ketchum, appearance, 
I, 2; birth and parentage, 8; ances- 
tors, 8-16; donated library building 
to Westport, 16; early home train- 
ing, 17-20; his father's loss of fort- 
une and death, 21; removal to New 
York, 22; attendance at New York 
schools, 22, 23; his later interest in 
education, 23, 24; gifts to colleges, 
23; degrees conferred by leading 
colleges, 24, 236; connection with 
Five Points Mission, 24-27; gift to 
Children's Aid Society, 27; when 
twelve years old began work in 
office, 28; rose to responsible posi- 
tion, 29; formed partnership with 
Charles Clark, 29-32; early busi- 
ness friends, 32; business trip to 
Wales, 33-34; association with John 



S. Kennedy and formation of new 
firm, 34-35; later partners were 
John Crerar, John Paton, and C. C. 
Cuyler, 35-36; firm name changed 
several times, 36; railroad interests, 
36-39; his business training made 
a basis for sound philanthropic 
views, 36, 40-41 ; his reasons for re- 
tiring from business, 42-43; relig- 
ious, philanthropic, educational, and 
civic activities, 43-44; member and 
officer of the Y. M. C. A., 45-48; 
treasurer of Christian Commission, 
48-50; member of the International 
Railroad Committee of Y. M. C. A., 
51-53; his aid to the San Francisco 
Y. M. C. A, 52, 53; Dwight L. 
Moody his intimate friend, 52, 53; 
sympathy with crusade started by 
Anthony Comstock, 54-59; action 
in regard to the preservation of the 
Adirondack forests, 61-63; his work 
in establishing an efficient Street 
Cleaning Department, 64-68; his 
opinion of Booker T. Washington's 
book, 69; his opposition to slavery, 
49; deep impression created by 
visiting a Richmond slave market, 
7 1 ; belief in industrial education for 
the negro, 70-80; interest in gen- 
eral education, 79-80; became mem- 
ber of the Presbyterian Church, 87; 
his work as trustee and president of 
the City Mission and Tract Society, 
91-95; for Foreign Missions, 96; 
the Syrian Protestant College at 
Beiriit his special charge, 96-101; 
extract from Sun: "Mr. Jesup in 
Syria," 101-103; his efforts in be- 
half of missionaries in Turkey, loi; 
serves on committee to open the 
Ecumenical Conference in New 
York City, 103-105; connection 
with the Union Theological Semi- 
nary, 106-112; foundation of the 
Jesup Graduate Chair of Preaching, 
108; presentation of home for the 
Union Settlement, 108; duties as 
president of the Chamber of Com- 

merce, 1 1 5-1 20; co-operation with 
Alexander Orr in public service, 
69, 75, 1 1 5-1 20; personal attention 
in relieving the survivors of the 
Martinique and San Francisco ca- 
lamities, 121-122; courtesies shown 
to eminent foreigners, 123-124; a 
delegate to the London Chamber of 
Commerce, 126-128; contributes 
generously to the building for the 
New York Chamber of Commerce, 
128; opening ceremonies of the 
same, 129, 130; the American 
Museum of Natural History, his 
connection with, as founder, 138; 
fitness as president of, 1 51-153; 
successful administration of, 153- 
155; generous contributions to, 154, 
165-168, 171; endowment of, 186; 
high tributes to his valuable services 
by Mr. Choate, President Osborn, 
and Director Bumpus, 183-186; 
Peary, how his attention was 
directed to, 188-191; first meeting 
with, 192; his interest and faith in, 
193-197; formation of the Peary 
Arctic Club, 195; Mr. Jesup's mar- 
riage, 201; his home in New York, 
202; some distinguished guests, 203, 
204; his pictures, 203, 204; books 
of travel his delight, 204; his home 
at Irvington, 205; his cottage at 
Bar Harbor, 205; fondness for his 
home at Lenox, 206; his love for 
animals, 206; for trees, 207; clubs 
of which he was a member, 207; 
sterling qualities of his friends, 
208; tributes to his character from 
President Bliss, Mrs. Patterson, 
Thatcher Adams, Rev. Dr. Rich- 
ards, Bishop Lawrence, and Bishop 
Doane, 208-218; from Professor 
Sloane, 224-227; from General 
Porter, 224-227; his retirement 
from the Chamber of Commerce, 
219; last address to that body, 220, 
221; his ill health, 222; his death at 
his New York home, 223; funeral 
service, 223-224; his inner life, 



231-239; honors conferred on him, 

Jesup, Kennedy & Adams, 35. 

Jesup & Company, M. K., 34-36. 

Jesup, Paton & Company, 36. 

Jesup collection of economic entomol- 
ogy, 166. 

Jesup collection of North American 
woods, 163-166. 

Jesup Graduate Chair of Preaching, 
Union Theological Seminary, 128. 

Jesup Hall, Williams College, 23. 

Jesup Memorial Library, Westport 
16, 20. 

Kennedy, John S., partner in M. K. 
Jesup & Company, 34-35; later 
established the firm of John S. 
Kennedy & Company, 36; friendly 
relations with Mr. Jesup, 208. 

Ketchum, Morris, 28, 32. 

King, Jr., David H., 67. 

King, James G., 115. 

Kinnicutt, Mrs. Francis P., 29. 

Landberg collection of Arabic manu- 
scripts, 23. 

Lanier, Charles, 45, 224. 

Lawrence, Bishop, his appreciation of 
Mr. Jesup, 213-215. 

Lebanon Chapel, 92-95. 

Low, Mayor, 129. 

McBurney, Robert R., 45. 
Marble Collegiate Church, 87. 
Maria De Witt Jesup Foundation, 97, 

Marshall, Dr. James, 93, 94. 
Mason, R. B., 32. 
Monroe, Elbert B., 45. 
Moody, D wight L., 47; campaign in 

San Francisco, S2»53. 
Morgan, J. Pierpont, 45, 66, 84, 183, 

Morley, John, 123. 
National Liberal League, 56. 
New England Society, 2, 16. 
New York City Mission and Tract 

Society, 2, 5, 20; Mr. Jesup's con- 
nection with, 92-95. 

New York Institution for the Instruc- 
tion of the Deaf and Dumb, 2. 

New York Municipal Society, 65. 

Olivet, first City Mission church, 91. 

Olmsted, Frederick, 172. 

Orr, Alexander, 69, 75, 76, 115, 119; 
president of the Chamber of Com- 
merce, 117; proposed a special 
building for the Chamber of Com- 
merce, 128; sympathy extended to, 
in illness, 221. 

Osborn, Henry Fairfield, 4, 157, 161, 
162; quoted, 184, 185; Peary's 
letter to, 199, 200, 224. 

Parish, Henry, 138. 

Parsons, John E., 16, 20, 224. 

Parsons, William B., chief engineer 
on the subway, 118. 

Paton & Company, John, 36, 43. 

Peabody Education Fund, 3, 80. 

Peary Arctic Club, 2, formation of, 
195, 196. 

Peary, Robert E., 4, 44, his meeting 
with Mr. Jesup, 188-192; discovery 
of meteorites now in the Museum of 
Natural History, 193; polar expedi- 
ditions of, 195-200; birth of the 
Peary Arctic Club, 195; financial 
aid from Mr. Jesup, 196; the Roose- 
velt, 196, 199; his tribute to Mr. 
Jesup, 199-200. 

Peary, Mrs. Robert, her plans for 
sending relief to her husband, 
190; interview with Mr. Jesup, 
191, 202. 

Pease, Rev. L. M., 25. 

Pilgrims' Society, 2, 16. 

Porter, General Horace, his tribute to 
Morris K. Jesup, 224-227. 

Post, M. D., Rev. George, 98, 100. 

Potter, Bishop, 112. 

Potter, Howard, 138, 141. 

Presbyterian Hospital, 3. 

Prince Henry of Prussia, visit of, 116, 



Prince Louis of Battenberg, visit of, 
116, 123. 

Putnam, Professor Frederick W., cu- 
rator of the department of anthro- 
pology, 168. 

Railroads: Rock Island, 32; Illinois 
Central, 32; New York, New Haven 
& Hartford, 32; Chicago & Alton, 
36; Dubuque & Sioux City, 36; 
Cedar Falls & Minnesota, 36; 
Southern Railway, 37; Atlantic 
Coast Line, 37; Northeastern Rail- 
road of South Carolina, 37; Savan- 
nah, Florida & Western, 37; To- 
ledo, Peoria & Western, 37; Pennsyl- 
vania, 37; Chicago, Burlington & 
Quincy, 37-39; Natchez, Jackson 
& Columbus, 37; Keokuk & 
Western, 37-39, 43; Missouri, Iowa 
& Nebraska, 38; Havana & Ran- 
toul & Eastern, 37. 

Rapid Transit Commission, 3; de- 
velopment of subways, 117, 118. 

Richards, Dr., 88; impression made 
on first meeting with Mr. Jesup, 
211-213, 224. 

Rockefeller, John D., his gift to the 
cause of education, 80, 

Rogers, Ketchum & Bement, 29, 

Rogers, Ketchum & Grosvenor, 28, 

Rogers Locomotive Works, 30. 
Roosevelt, Theodore, 84, 129. 
Roosevelt, Theodore, father of the 

ex-President, 138, 141. 

Sailors' Snug Harbor, 2, 43; founda- 
tion of, 120; trustees of, 120; Mr. 
Jesup's financial policy for, 121. 

Sanitary Commission, United States, 

Sargent, Professor Charles S., 164; 
quoted, 166. 

Schauffler, Dr., superintendent of City 
Mission and Tract Society, 92. 

Schuyler, George, 32; 

Schuyler, Robert, 32. 

Shefiield, Joseph, 32. 
Sherman, Benjamin B., 138. 
Sherwood, Abigail, 8, 14, 20. 
Sherwood, Hon. Samuel Burr, 8, 

Slater, John F., 78. 
Slater, William A., 73. 
Slater Fund for the Education of 

Freedmen, 3, 5, 43, 60; donation 

and management of, 72-77; 81, 

Slater - Armstrong Trade School, 


Sloane, Professor William E., his trib- 
ute to the memory of Mr. Jesup 
before the members of the Century 
Association, 227-230. 

Society for the Relief of Half-Orphan 
and Destitute Children, 3. 

Society for the Suppression of Vice, 3, 
founding of, 56, 202. 

Steward, D. Jackson, 138. 

Stewart, John A., 73. 

Spelman Institute, 76. 

Straus, Oscar S., loi. 

Strong, Hon. William, L., 68, 115. 

Stuart, George H., 48. 

Stuart, Robert L., 137; president of 
the Museum of Natural History, 
138, 141, 147. 

Sturges, Jonathan, 32. 

Syrian Protestant College at Beirtit, 2, 
5, 23, 44, 96-101; Mr. Jesup's in- 
terest in and support of, 101-103. 

Teachers' Endowment Fund, Harvard, 

Terry, John H., 224. 
Tuskegee Institute, 23. 

Union Theological Seminary, 2; found- 
ed in 1837, 105- 

Union Theological Seminary at Pe- 
king, 96. 

Union Settlement, 108. 

United States Christian Commission, 

Vanderbilt, Cornelius, 51. 



Van Dyke, Rev. Henry, 224. 
Vaux, Calvert, 148. 

Waite, Chief -Justice, 72. 

Waring, Col. George E., 68, 69. 

Washington, Booker T., 69. 

Westport, 8, 16. 

Wetmore, A. R., 92. 

Williams, Sir George, founder of 

Y. M. C. A. movement, 46. 
Wolfe, Catharine L., contributor to 

the American Museum of Natural 

History, 147. 
Wolfe, John David, president of the 

Museum of Natural History, 138, 

141, 146, 181. 
Wortman, Dr. J. L., 167. 
Wright, Sarah, 13. 

Yale College, 23, 24. 
Young Men's Christian Association, 
2, 33; organized, 44; founders, 45. 




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